Accepted paper:

A not so borderless world: illegality, criminalization, and the policing of immigration

Authors:

Jonathan Inda (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Paper short abstract:

Across the world, states are increasingly responding to the flow of people across national borders through punitive measures. Focusing on the United States, the paper deals with this global practice of governing immigration through crime.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with the contemporary global practice of governing immigration through crime. Indeed, across the world, states are increasingly responding to the flow of people across national borders through exclusionary and punitive measures. In the United States, to use one example, the most notable form that governing through crime has assumed over the last twenty years is that of intensified law enforcement at the nation’s borders. The U.S. Federal government has essentially determined that the best way to deal with the “problem” of undocumented immigration is through turning the US into a fortified enclave. More recently, however, governmental authorities have placed increasing emphasis on the interior policing of the United States. Since the early 2000s, criminal prosecutions of immigration violations have increased; local and state law enforcement agencies have become progressively more involved in policing immigration matters; the number of immigrants incarcerated in county jails, federal prisons, and immigration detention centers has surged; and immigration raids have become rather prevalent. What we have essentially witnessed, then, is the progressive criminalization of migrants and a significant expansion in the space of policing. The focus of this paper will thus be on how rather than disappearing, borders in today’s globalizing world have proliferated as the boundaries of immigration policing have migrated inwards, turning countless spaces in the interior of the United States ¬– from workplaces and homes to public spaces – into border zones of enforcement where governmental authorities endeavor to regulate putatively “dangerous” cross-border illegalities.

panel P142
Common themes and varied approaches: globalization, migration and popular arts (AAA/JASCA joint panel)