From Workers to Enemies: National security, state building, and America's war on 'illegal' immigrants
Title: From Workers to Enemies: National security, state building, and America's war on 'illegal' immigrants
Citation: Michael BÖSS (ed.), Narrating Peoplehood Amidst Diversity: Historical and theoretical perspectives, Aarhus, Aarhus University Press, 2011, Match Points, 2,
In this chapter we argue that since the mid- 1980s immigration policy toward “illegal” immigrants has assumed the character of a war expressed in growing border militarization and fortification, expanded border manpower, and an enhanced internal program of enforcement. Militaristic aspects of US political culture accommodate the idea of a nation at war domestically and abroad. In addition to enhancing executive authority and resources, the war on “illegal” immigrants legitimizes the process of state building through the definition of an "enemy." The importance of the transformation in the fight against “illegal” immigration exceeds the hard facts reflected in the resources and manpower devoted to it, which we survey. Our interest in this process turns on what it can say about the political process in which reified and exclusionary identities are utilized by the state to draw a frontier that marks a certain group as outsider and unable to participate politically. In other words, the branding of an enemy and the militarization of the state’s struggle against it underlie processes of exclusion that both feed and are fed by narratives of national identity that seeks to make all immigrants potentially deportable and their claim to inclusion an illegitimate one.
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.