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The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration, and Security Since 9/11 By Edward Alden
Publisher: Harper 2008-09-01 | 368 Pages | ISBN: 0061558397 | PDF | 1.4 MB
A provocative, behind-the-scenes investigation into the consequences of America's efforts to secure its borders since 9/11
On September 10, 2001, the United States was the most open country in the world. But in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil, the U.S. government began to close its borders in an effort to fight terrorism. The Bush administration's goal was to build new lines of defense against terrorists without stifling the flow of people and ideas from abroad that has helped build the world's most dynamic economy. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.
The Closing of the American Border is based on extensive interviews with the Bush administration officials charged with securing the border after 9/11, including former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge and former secretary of state Colin Powell, and with many of the innocent people whose lives have been upended by the new border security and visa rules. A pediatric heart surgeon from Pakistan is stuck in Karachi for nearly a year, awaiting the security review that would allow him to return to the United States to take up a prestigious post at UCLA Medical Center. A brilliant Sudanese scientist, working tirelessly to cure one of the worst diseases of the developing world, loses years of valuable research when he is detained in Brazil after attending an academic conference on behalf of an American university.
Edward Alden goes behind the scenes to show how an administration that appeared united in the aftermath of the attacks was racked by internal disagreements over how to balance security and openness. The result is a striking and compelling assessment of the dangers faced by a nation that cuts itself off from the rest of the world, making it increasingly difficult for others to travel, live, and work here, and depriving itself of its most persuasive argument against its international critics—the example of what it has achieved at home.
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