Sans Border Wall Funding, Trump Sends Troops to String Razor Wire

[Content Note: Nativism; violence.]

Since mean old Nancy Pelosi won't give Donald Trump billions of taxpayer dollars to build his border wall, he's preparing to deploy more troops to the southern border to string concertina wire — otherwise known as barbed wire or razor wire, because of the sharp spikes which adorn it.

Courtney Kube and Julia Ainsley at NBC News report:
The Department of Homeland Security has requested more U.S. troops to be deployed at the border to add 160 miles of concertina wire on top of existing border fencing, according to three U.S. officials.

If approved by Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, the addition of troops to enhance the fencing could extend the military's current deployment at the border until the end of September, based on the rate of construction, according to two officials. The military mission, which began two months ago, was set to end on Jan. 31.

The fencing that is to be reinforced with concertina wire is not new. The troops currently deployed at the border have already added concertina wire at ports of entry in Arizona, Texas, and California.
This is one of those items that won't get a whole lot of attention. People will read the headline and not think a whole lot about it; maybe make a joke about Trump's big, tall, beautiful wall being a fence.

But this is an act of nativist violence. And many of us don't think about it that way because we don't give much thought to concertina wire, the damage it does to bodies, or its ugly history.

In November, Rebecca Onion wrote a good piece at Slate on the "long, troubling legacy" of concertina wire in the United States, and the harm it has done to ranched animals, as well as the many ways it has been used — and sometimes explicitly marketed — to enforce white supremacist and/or classist divisions.

And we don't have to travel back to the Wild West, or limit ourselves to the States, to understand the harm that concertina wire does to migrants desperately seeking refuge. In a 2013 piece for the Guardian, Paul Hamilos detailed the concerns of human rights activists regarding the inhumane practice of using concertina wire along borders:
The fence that divides Morocco from Melilla has become a focal point for immigration from sub-Saharan Africa. ...In the past decade, many have died in their attempts to cross but human rights groups say there is little information as to the exact number of deaths and serious injuries.

Juan López de Uralde of the Green group Equo condemned the decision to bring back the wire. "It's just criminal, because it won't stop people trying to cross the fence. The only thing it will achieves is to cause horrific injuries. On a recent visit to the temporary migrant centre in Melilla I spoke to people who said that when these blades were used before they had to treat people with serious injuries. It is inhumane to do this."

By the time migrants have reached the border between Morocco and Melilla, many will have travelled for years across north and sub-Saharan Africa's towns and deserts and are unlikely to be deterred in their efforts to reach Europe, even by the use of razor blades at the fence.
People are going to get hurt on the hundreds of miles of concertina wire that Trump is instructing the military to install at the southern border. That, of course, is the objective, because malice is the agenda.

We need to understand the grim, violent reality of concertina wire, and we need to make noise about its installation. This isn't neutral. It's designed to do harm to people who are seeking safety.

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