Policing Borders in North America after September 11: From Barricaded Borders to the Growing Governmentalization of Human and Material Flows

  • Isidro Morales
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


NAFTA was not conceived as a mechanism for promoting political cooperation, let alone strategic integration among the three North American nations. After September 11, the region seems to have rapidly moved toward a continental security regime. After the terrorist attacks to the US, the geopolitics of borders became heavily grounded on a generalized politics of fear in the region, by which Washington pursues its own war against terror through military, political and institutional means. Although the building and proliferation of ‘barricaded borders’ continues to be a pillar of this strategy, I argue in this chapter that a more subtle and, perhaps, more effective security regime is emerging in the region betting to a soft power technology of governmentalization of human and material flows. The ultimate goal of this emerging regime is to permanently oversee and tactically intervene on the daily movement of cross-border flows within and throughout North America. In contrast with the ‘politics of borders’ pursued before September 11, the new ‘politics of fear’ seems to defuse the national fragmentation that prevailed in the past and to make of North America a geopolitical fortress ready to maintain a long and lasting ‘war against terror’. If this scenario prevails in the years to come, the ‘deepening’ of continental integration will be dominated by a geopolitical imperative to which trans-boundary economic and social trends must be accommodated.


Terrorist Attack Threat Assessment Illegal Alien Terrorist Network Human Smuggling 
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Copyright information

© Isidro Morales 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isidro Morales
    • 1
  1. 1.Area of Public Administration and GovernmentInstituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de MonterreyMexico

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