The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11: A book written by Edward Alden, Former Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times


A book written by Edward Alden,
Former Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times was
published yesterday by HarperCollins.  It will be of great interest
to readers of this blog. The book is entitled The Closing of the American
Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11
. It tells the
story of the internal battles within the Bush administration after 9/11
over how far to go in tightening U.S. borders in what was often a misguided
effort to keep out terrorists. That story is interspersed with many personal
tales of innocent people who got caught up in the labryinth of post-9/11
restrictions. Mr.
Alden also makes a number of larger points about the damage that
has been done to the U.S. economy and to the country’s standing in the
world by the heavy-handed way in which border security measures have been

The book comes out of reporting the author did
after 9/11 while he was the Washington Bureau Chief for the Financial Times,
and well as more than a year of further research after he joined the Council
on Foreign Relations.

The book is available in bookstores,
and on Amazon at

You can also get a preview of some of
the chapters at:

Product Description from

“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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