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Press Releases

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dunn Book Examines 'Blockading the Border and Human Rights'

SALISBURY, MD---When some 400 El Paso Border Patrol agents gathered to block the entry of illegal emigrants into the United States during a highly publicized 1993 operation, their actions changed the way American immigration had been enforced.

Dr. Timothy J. Dunn of Salisbury University’s Sociology Department examines this incident and how its successors have impacted public opinion and human rights in his new book, "Blockading the Border and Human Rights: The El Paso Operation That Remade Immigration Enforcement,” from the University of Texas Press.

The new enforcement strategy grew out of a 1992 lawsuit that successfully claimed discriminatory practices among the Border Patrol. The 1993 “Operation Blockade” reflected a new strategy enacted after that suit’s success and paved the way for similar, wider-spread initiatives in 1994 and 2004.

“How on Earth did the United States end up deploying tens of thousands of armed personnel to defend a border with a friendly nation that poses no conceivable military threat and which is, in fact, a close ally and trading partner?” said Dr. Douglas Massey, president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the Henry G. Bryant professor of sociology at Princeton University.

“Dunn’s brilliant analysis is essential to understanding the origins of a flawed border policy that went on to turn a relatively small, circular flow of seasonal workers going into three states into a huge population of settled families living in 50 states—all at a cost of more than 4,000 lives and billions of taxpayer dollars. This book should be required reading for policy makers and the public alike.”

Dr. Kathleen Staudt, professor of political science at the University of Texas at El Paso, calls the book “welcome and needed.” Dr. Nestor Rodriguez, professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, calls it “a must-read book for understanding the conflictive situations that nationally planned border policy can produce in local communities.”

This isn’t Dunn’s first look at American immigration policy. He also researched the issue for his 1996 book The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992: Low-Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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