I'll be presenting "Saving Latinas? The Organization of Public and Private Violence in the U.S. Immigration Regime" at Florida International University. See abstract below.
Saving Latinas? The Organization of Public and Private Violence in the U.S. Immigration Regime
This paper investigates the organization of violence along racialized and gendered lines in the US Immigration Regime. In particular, it interrogates the subtle distinctions between the kinds of violence this regime allows and those that it represses, and the particular way in which these processes construct particular subjectivities and support narratives of U.S. identity. I examine the way in which the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) extends protection as evidence of the state differentiation between private and public violence against women. I contrast this protective intervention with the violence that women suffer at the hands of the immigration regime, including sexual violence while in ICE custody or the renaissance of family detention after the increasing arrivals of Central American women and children at the border. I argue that the immigration regime is a central site for the performance of claims regarding the “lawful” character of the United States vis-à-vis the threatening violence that takes places south of the border. In other words, the intervention of the state is guided by the goal of maintaining the historical narrative of the foreign threatening violence that puts in peril the nature of the U.S. as a “nation of laws.” Immigration is a privileged area for the expression of these narratives because the state can assert two contrasts: one between the lawful United States and the illegal population that violates immigration regulations, and the other between the nonviolent U.S. society and the excessive violence of the outside of which the migrant is a carrier. I conclude by discussing the way in which the measures taken after the arrival of Central American women and children at the border serve to put in crisis the neat division between the lawful inside and the violent outside.
Keywords: VAWA, violence, Latina, immigration, enforcement, race.