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The turn of the twenty-first century marked the consolidation of the cybernetic border as the hegemonic regime in the United States. Described by government and elected officials and technicians as “smart borders,” this technopolitical regime operated through networked information technologies such as unmanned aerial systems, agents conducting sign cutting, relay towers, remote video surveillance systems, and imaging sensors. This approach responded to how settler nativist, conservative, and even liberal discoursers addressed the uncertainties of the post–Cold War world and the maneuvers of enemies in the War on Terror. Smart borders were supposed to institute operational control through the management of enmity and other phenomena as data. Priority in data technopolitics meant that the border's emerging sociotechnical arrangement was a provisional one, a perennial prototype undergoing constant modifications, updating, and reorganization.

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