Defund the Digital Border Wall

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Technology can be a force for good. But in the hands of border patrol agencies, it’s separating families, aiding violent detentions, and aggressively monitoring tens of thousands of migrants’ every move. Our government has spent millions criminalizing immigrants, and it has to stop. Tell Congress and President Biden: no more money for border surveillance.

President Biden publicly declared that “not another foot” of Trump’s border wall would be built along the U.S. Southern border. But his actions say otherwise. This week, Democrats signed off on $415.4 million for surveillance towers, drones, and ankle monitors—which, together, form a digital border wall capable of human rights abuses at a catastrophic scale. 

Let’s be clear: a massive surveillance apparatus isn’t “gentler” than a physical wall. It causes serious physical and psychological harm, diverts migrants towards dangerous routes, and justifies warrantless searches. This system is what happens when our country’s anti-immigrant biases, and our obsession with policing, are force-multiplied by billions in tech company contracts.

We have to draw a line in the sand: no more taxpayer dollars can be spent on technologies whose sole purpose is to restrict, surveil, and imprison migrant communities. 

This means: 

  • President Biden must not request digital border wall funding in his FY 2023 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget.
  • Congress must hard-line reject the funding of surveillance tech for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the DHS in future budget packages.
  • Funding earmarked for surveillance tech must be reinvested into education, housing, and healthcare projects in migrant and border communities.

It’s difficult to fight back against surveillance, but that makes it all the more important that we do. Surveillance that begins in targeted areas, like around the border, has historically expanded to harm more people across the country. In 2022, Congress must fund projects that support human lives, and defund the digital border wall.