President George H.W. Bush and Sandia

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President George H.W. Bush

          In 1992, George H.W. Bush enlisted Sandia National Laboratories to provide suggestions for improving southern border security as part of the National Drug Control Strategy. Sandia is a privately run defense contractor and the national designated laboratory by Congress. The origins of Sandia can be traced back to the World War II effort in connection with the Manhattan Project, working to develop the first atomic bombs. Drawing from this background, Sandia devised a recommendation plan which included increasing border fencing, as well as militaristic approaches to deterring migrants. Sandia’s recommendations were as follows:

  • Create a triple-layer fence. The first fence would be 10 feet, the second a curved 15 foot wall, and the last 10 feet. 

  • Use concrete vehicle barriers.

  • Create static and movable checkpoints.

  • Anyone near the fences should be stopped for proof of citizenship and apprehended if they were unable to provide documentation.

          In response to the National Drug Control Strategy, the American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Poverty Law Center quickly began arguing against Sandia’s disregard for individuals’ 4th Amendment right to freedom from unlawful search and seizures. Due to this growing pressure, the official report crafted by Sandia remained classified until 1994. 

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Sandia National Laboratories 


-Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico Border by John Carlos Frey.

Last modified: Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020, 14:35