The United States is outsourcing its border patrol abroad—and essentially expanding its borders in the process. Empire of Borders is a work of narrative investigative journalism that traces the rise of this border regime. In Syria, Guatemala, Kenya, Palestine, Mexico, the Philippines, and elsewhere, Miller finds that borders aren’t making the world safe—they are the frontline in a global war against the poor.
Todd Miller’s Empire of Borders: How the US Is Exporting Its Border Around the World is profoundly helpful in this time of human and ecological disaster. Miller is a journalist with a novelist’s attention and sensitivity to individual human experience ... Miller’s work is well-researched in the historical roots of borders and in the current modes of political and military expansion, changes in nation states, and the emergence of a powerful global elite. He refers to a wide range of literature from pertinent disciplines and helpfully introduces the reader to other current work ... Miller describes in detail much that should be widely known by the public: militarized borders, climate impacts necessitating migration, and a political/economic system that robs the majority population of its livelihood through land confiscations and various market mechanisms ... Empire of Borders provides fundamental, essential information about the current human situation at the borders.
Miller argues that in order to fully understand US immigration policy, we must go far beyond the borders of the United States itself and much further back in time than the Trump era ... The sheer geographic scope of the book is a feat in and of itself that immediately sets Miller’s book apart from much of the literature on the US-Mexico border ... Another contribution that Miller’s book makes is in outlining the colonial and imperial roots of these processes ... While exploring the deep historical roots of the oppression wrought by the borders of modern nation-states, Miller’s book is also forward facing. Climate change is a central component of the work, echoing the theme of his previous book, Storming the Wall. Climate change, he writes, 'offers the most complete and coherent argument for dissolving our world’s hardened militarized borders and to imagine something new.' In a world where more people than ever are on the move, this is an urgent, crucial proposal that demands a change not only in policies, but in systems and the oppressive structures that drive them.
Given the present international landscape, Todd Miller’s Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World couldn’t have come at a better time ... Armed with a US passport, Miller exploits his relative freedom of movement to document the oppressiveness of the modern border system ... Though certain sections of the book could have benefited from greater succinctness, others could have profited from more exposition ... In an age of xenophobic hysteria, Miller deserves great praise for humanizing those who are typically 'illegalized [and] randomly disenfranchised by the geographical location of their birth' ... By asserting humanity and empathy in the face of an antihuman system, Empire of Borders is subversive in its own right. You might say that it’s also subversive in offering a glimpse of hope — even to dedicated pessimists like myself ... Now, as the borders of empire continue to expand and oppress — with or without alligator moats — Miller’s Empire of Borders is an excellent place to start thinking about tearing it all down.