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Immigration Law Beyond Borders: Externalizing and Internalizing Border Controls in an Era of Securitization



This review focuses on the enactment of borders beyond the physical demarcation of the nation, to encompass the entire migratory process, with particular attention to practices in the United States and the European Union. It addresses the twin processes of the externalization (outsourcing) and internalization (insourcing) of border controls, both of which rest on the securitization of migration management. Outsourcing involves a series of extraterritorial activities in sending and in transit countries at the request of the more powerful receiving state. Insourcing includes the policing of immigrants and enforcement controls within the interior, such as the detection, detention, and deportation of immigrants. This multipronged strategy that extends beyond the edges of a territory highlights the spaciality of enforcement and the buttressing of power imbalances between sending countries, on one hand, and transit and receiving countries, on the other, as well as inequalities within national territories with respect to legal status.
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Immigration Law Beyond
Borders: Externalizing and
Internalizing Border Controls
in an Era of Securitization
Cecilia Menj´
Department of Sociology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287;
Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. 2014. 10:353–69
The Annual Review of Law and Social Science is
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2014 by Annual Reviews.
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borders, enforcement, immigration
This review focuses on the enactment of borders beyond the physical de-
marcation of the nation, to encompass the entire migratory process, with
particular attention to practices in the United States and the European
Union. It addresses the twin processes of the externalization (outsourcing)
and internalization (insourcing) of border controls, both of which rest on
the securitization of migration management. Outsourcing involves a series
of extraterritorial activities in sending and in transit countries at the request
of the more powerful receiving state. Insourcing includes the policing of im-
migrants and enforcement controls within the interior, such as the detection,
detention, and deportation of immigrants. This multipronged strategy that
extends beyond the edges of a territory highlights the spaciality of enforce-
ment and the buttressing of power imbalances between sending countries,
on one hand, and transit and receiving countries, on the other, as well as
inequalities within national territories with respect to legal status.
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There is a significant and growing body of scholarship on borders, with themes, disciplines, and
approaches crisscrossing a wide array of questions around identity, migration, and transnational-
ism, among other themes.1With respect to migration, borders often have been examined as the
physical demarcations that separate national contiguous territories and through which people and
goods traverse, and much attention has been devoted to the increasing significance of such borders
in the context of national security, control, and, more recently, securitization (Bigo 2002, Coutin
2010, Inda 2006). Borders also have been examined in the context of restrictive immigration poli-
cies that have resulted in the production of massive “immigrant illegality” in the United States and
Europe (De Genova 2002, Menj´
ıvar & Kanstroom 2014), leading to the erection of a “wall around
the West” (Andreas & Snyder 2000). And as Laia Soto-Bermant notes, issues of securitization and
shifting migratory routes resulting from increased border controls in major receiving countries
have renewed interest in the convergence of state power, technologies of control, and borders
(L. Soto-Bermant, unpublished manuscript titled “Bordering Europe: The Politics of Selective
Permeability at the Spanish-Moroccan Border of Melilla”).
The multifaceted character of the border, as both a physical and a legal demarcation, and the
expansion of border controls have given rise to a growing literature in the field of immigration.
Significant attention has been paid to the physical border and the effects on individuals and com-
munities of erecting fences, establishing checkpoints, and militarizing areas surrounding borders
(see Andreas 2009; Dunn 1996; Heyman 2001, 2008, 2012; Nevins 2002; Rosas 2012). This
review focuses on the expansion of borders beyond the physical demarcation between two national
territories, and points to some of its effects. The article examines the twin processes of externaliza-
tion (outsourcing) and internalization (insourcing) of border controls, which have accompanied
immigration enforcement in an era of securitization and national security concerns. As “borders
have expanded outwards, they also have expanded inwards” (Hansen & Papademetriou 2014, p. 3),
leading to an omnipresence of borders (Leerkes et al. 2013) in major receiving countries today.
Scholars have called attention to the contradictions of today’s world order (Zolberg 1992)
that migration exposes (Fassin 2011), that is, the seemingly conflicting ways in which advanced
industrialized nations have been regulating trade flows and migration, liberalizing the former but
increasing controls on the latter (Bauman 1998, Castells 1989, Falk 1999, Sassen 1988), with some
pointing to the very close nexus between these two trends. Hence, some migratory flows have been
expanded precisely because labor migration is treated as a form of capital, Kretsedemas (2012)
observes. For others, the increasingly punitive turn in the regulation of migration that rests on the
hypercriminalization of immigrants and intensifies migrants’ socioeconomic vulnerabilities is part
of a rebordering in late capitalist societies (De Giorgi 2010). Still others note the concerted efforts
in receiving countries to stimulate the very flows that they say they want to curb, which create
a vulnerable workforce that satisfies capital’s need for flexibility in the major receiving countries
(De Genova 2002, De Giorgi 2010, Mart´
ın D´
ıaz et al. 2012, Massey et al. 2002, Menj´
ıvar 2013,
Ngai 1998). From different angles and with varying emphases, all these studies bring attention to
the new forms of control and enforcement measures at the root of immigration policies in major
receiving countries today.
In the current climate of control and securitization—a term that denotes the confluence of
immigration policy with national security concerns and antiterrorism measures (Astor 2009, Bigo
1There is even a journal dedicated to this area, the Journal of Border Studies. See Alvarez (1995) and an unpublished manuscript
by L. Soto-Bermant for an overview of the study of borders; see Lamont & Moln´
ar (2002) for an examination of boundaries
and Fassin (2011) for bringing together approaches of borders and boundaries and the study of policing of borders in the
context of migration.
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2002, Welch 2002)—policy approaches to curtail the influx of immigrants include, as noted above,
the twin strategies of border outsourcing and insourcing. Outsourcing and insourcing mean the
expansion of border controls beyond the physical border to the exterior, with the assistance of third
countries, as well as toward the interior of the territory, through the strengthening of controls
accompanied by the proliferation of expulsions and/or deportations (Burman 2006, Coutin 2010,
Hing 2006, Waldinger & Fitzgerald 2004, Willen 2010). Both of these processes rely heavily
on increasingly more sophisticated networks of state surveillance technology (Kanstroom 2007,
Pallitto & Heyman 2008); indeed, the integrated use of information technology seems to have
become a hallmark of border security today (Koslowski 2006). Significantly, the physical and legal
borders that control the movement of people into the territory of a receiving country as well as
their movement within it are not responses to threats to state power; on the contrary, these twin
processes reflect the imbalance of power between the receiving state and the sending and transit
states, as well as the shrinking rights of immigrants already in the territory of the receiving country.
The outsourcing and insourcing of borders also expose the complex and fluctuating nature of
borders, particularly in the case of the European Union (in the contemporary period).2As Raustiala
(2009) observes, these two processes mirror each other: Extraterritoriality mitigates difference
(blurring territorial borders to enhance control), whereas intraterritoriality serves to establish
difference, creating new forms of social stratification in receiving societies (Menj´
ıvar & Kanstroom
2014). Thus, Boehm (2012) notes, these processes contribute to a simultaneous blurring and
reassertion of categories of migration that result not in the absolute exclusion of immigrants but
in their subordinate inclusion (see also Chauvin & Garc´
es-Mascare ˜
nas 2014, Espiritu 2003).
Major receiving countries, principally the United States and member states of the European
Union, have relied on different models for immigration control, but in recent years their ap-
proaches have converged. Martin (2007, p. 5) has observed that with regard to enforcement,
countries fall into two main camps: “the ‘island’ model of border enforcement, with a focus on
‘activities on the border’ and countries that ‘follow an interior model, concentrating their en-
forcement activities inside their countries.’” The former model, which the United States followed
until recently, entails weaker internal controls, whereas the latter has been the European Union’s
typical approach to immigration control. However, as Schain (2014, p. 41) notes, the European
Union seems to be moving “toward elements of the ‘island model’ of border control, driven by the
unevenness of frontier controls among the member states, as well as by the mutual dependence that
has always existed in the Schengen system.” At the same time, the United States has been moving
toward more internal enforcement (Kanstroom 2007, 2012; Schain 2014). And even though the
European Union and the United States differ significantly in their policy approaches to entry,
integration, and border enforcement, there are similarities in both contexts with regard to the
perception of borders as permeable (see Schain 2014) as well as with regard to the expansion of
borders—externally and internally—and the changing nature of their rigidity and impermeability
as determined by the political climate of the time.
At the root of the multidirectional expansion of borders—outward and inward—beyond the
physical frontier rests the turn to securitization (see Bigo 2002, Coutin 2010, Huysmans 2000),
that is, the discourse and creation of various fears that converge on the image of the immigrant
(Ceyhan & Tsoukala 2002), or the “anchoring point of securitarian policies and fierce debates
that gained momentum in the 1990s” (Ceyhan & Tsoukala 2002, p. 22). Thus, even though in
2I use the term European Union to refer to the set of countries that have instituted the set of immigration policies based on
securitization that I discuss in this article, remaining cognizant that European Union (28 member states as of this writing)
overlaps with Eurozone (18 EU member states), Schengen area (20 EU member states plus four European Economic Space
countries), and the Council of Europe (47 member states). Immigration Law Beyond Borders 355
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certain national contexts of the past immigrants were also perceived as a threat to the nation
(see Kanstroom 2007), today immigrants have been turned into “security issues” across national
receiving contexts (d’Appollonia 2012). Although most of these fears are directed at presumed ter-
rorists because they can pose national security threats, today securitization frames extend beyond
these individuals to include all immigrants, even undocumented labor migrants, as presumptive se-
curity threats in one way or another (d’Appollonia 2012, Fouratt 2014). Such fears include losing a
national and cultural identity (Van Houtum & Pijpers 2007) and a collective identity (Ilgit & Klotz
2014), facing crime that immigrants supposedly bring (Alonso-Borrego et al. 2012, Zatz & Smith
2012),3and having to support immigrants who become unemployed and thus a public charge to
society ( Jenks 1995), which can exacerbate economic woes (Colombo 2013). Furthermore, the
framing of immigrants as harmful (or even as persons who migrate with the intention to do harm)
to a wide range of social institutions beyond national security seems to exist across national con-
texts, including the Global South (see Fouratt 2014, Ilgit & Klotz 2014). Importantly, as Longazel
(2013) notes, such fears are based on racialized moral panics that degrade immigrant populations
as local officials and the media insist on the immigrants’ criminality and the burden they have been
constructed to represent. And although it is widely known post 9/11 that immigration control,
fears of terrorism, and concerns over national security are all linked, it is important to keep in mind
that immigration and national security were strongly linked well before that (Kanstroom 2007,
ıvar & Kanstroom 2014, Rudolph 2006). Indeed, the turn to securitization in immigration
had already started in earnest in the 1990s and was only expanded after 9/11 (d’Appollonia 2012).4
The push to link immigration and securitization today, which has spurred the expansion of
border enforcement intra- and extraterritorially, has led to the transformation of national spaces,
rendering certain locations ambiguous (Coutin 2010), in receiving countries but also in spaces of
transit (see Raphael et al. 2006).5This spaciality of enforcement (Coutin 2010; see also Licona &
Maldonado 2014) is also evident in the emphasis that immigration laws passed in recent years
place on confinement (Richard & Fischer 2008, Welch 2002), creating conditions for immigrants
to feel continuously detained (Klein & Williams 2012; see also Carney 2013). It is worth noting
that the fusing of immigration matters with securitization also leads to a growing tolerance on
the part of the public to the infringement of immigrants’ rights, indefinite detention, and even
racial profiling (d’Appollonia 2012). The spatiality of border controls therefore constitutes a key
element in the examination of their outsourcing and insourcing today.
In a review of the sociolegal literature, Calavita (2007) identifies a trend that decenters law,
even when law matters in several ways through various mechanisms, including the dynamics
of ethnicity and identity in tandem with legal processes. This shift is evident in the increasing
3Despite a significant body of scholarship that points to the buffering effects of immigration against crime (Zatz & Smith
2012) or to the lack of a connection between immigration and crime (Rumbaut & Ewing 2007), these fears persist and drive
the policies discussed in this article.
4In the mid-1990s, the Immigration and Naturalization Service developed interior enforcement strategies to “control illegal
immigration across the U.S. border and a strategy to address enforcement priorities within the country’s interior. The strategy
called for ‘prevention through deterrence’” (GAO 2002, p. 1). But even earlier, perhaps signaling a trend, in 1976, the US
Supreme Court (United States v. Martinez-Fuerte 1976) allowed the US Border Patrol to set up permanent checkpoints on US
territory on public highways leading to or away from the Mexican border, deciding this did not constitute a violation of the
Fourth Amendment.
5In her examination of the global regulatory power of the European Union, Scott (2014) differentiates between extraterrito-
riality and the newer term territorial expansion. In her conceptualization, “a measure will be regarded as extraterritorial when
it imposes obligations on persons who do not enjoy a relevant territorial connection with the regulating state. By contrast, a
measure will be regarded as giving rise to territorial extension when its application depends upon the existence of a relevant
territorial connection, but where the relevant regulatory determination will be shaped as a matter of law, by conduct or
circumstances abroad” (pp. 89–90).
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emphasis on the agentive, the everyday, and consciousness, and less on formal and informal legal
processes (Calavita 2007, p. 2; see also Levitsky 2013). Following this trend, but also addressing
the disconnect between macrolevel factors such as state policy and the microlevel of everyday life
that Levitsky (2013) detects, in addition to identifying the mechanisms through which the border
has expanded beyond the confines of a physical demarcation between territorial boundaries, this
review highlights some of the consequences of multidirectional border expansion. As Hagan
& Phillips (2008) have correctly observed, immigration enforcement activities that have led to
the unprecedented increase in detention and deportation have had far-reaching and unintended
consequences, both in the receiving countries as well as in those of origin and of transit. These
macro changes have transformed the nature of borders and have shaped the everyday lives of
immigrants, their families, and communities (Sigona 2012), including nonmigrants in origin
countries (Menj´
ıvar & Agadjanian 2007, Rus & Rus 2014, Sandoval 2013), reconstituting
identities and perceptions of the self and others (Su´
arez-Navaz 2006). This review points to some
of these effects, with attention to the violation and the diminishing of migrants’ rights.
The externalization of borders involves a series of extraterritorial activities in sending and in
transit countries at the request of the (more powerful) receiving states (e.g., the United States or
the European Union) for the purpose of controlling the movement of potential migrants. These
strategies are akin to remote controls to manipulate migration (Bigo & Guild 2005), as they rely on
geography to restrict access to entry (Hyndman & Mountz 2008, Mountz 2010, Triandafyllidou
2014). The tactics employed comprise the establishment of check points in transit countries as well
as interdiction at the border (Heyman 1999) and at sea. They also include bureaucratic measures to
screen potential migrants through visa requirements before they even leave the sending country.
In practice, Hyndman & Mountz (2008) argue, based on the case of refugees seeking entry to
Europe and Australia, the externalization of controls and asylum screening constitute de facto
nonrefoulement practices.
The externalization (or outsourcing) of borders, or what Bigo & Guild (2005, p. 233) define as
“bordering-debordering,” creates a situation in which admission decisions, which are normally the
purview of immigration inspectors at ports of entry, or the frontline gatekeepers (Gilboy 1991),
are no longer confined to these spaces or at the physical border (Ryan 2010). Indeed, Bigo &
Guild (2005, p. 233) argue that the “professionals of security” prefer to start the process of border
control abroad, at the point of departure, through visas and requirements that permit screening
(also Bigo & Guild 2010). The outsourcing of borders also rests on the increased emphasis on
preborder surveillance and interception (Rijpma & Cremona 2007), in which programs devised
by the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Union border agency Frontex
(European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the
Member States of the European Union) play a key role. These programs make visa requirements
increasingly more stringent, acting to funnel migration from its very origin.
One strategy to enact extraterritorial immigration policies is through prechecks and preclear-
ance intergovernmental agreements, through which immigration officials are deployed outside
the territorial boundaries of the receiving state to meet and screen migrants before they set foot in
the receiving state (see Guiraudon 2006, Ryan 2010). US border inspections at Canadian airports;
US airline carriers charged with checking the passports and visas of the passengers; agreements
between US immigration control with Bermuda, Aruba, and Ireland that permit screening before
immigrants board a flight to the United States; and US policies of interdiction at sea are but a
few examples of how border controls are outsourced today. These strategies are meant to “create Immigration Law Beyond Borders 357
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distance between any attempt to reach the legal borders of a state and the act of reaching the
soil of the country itself ” (Hansen & Papademetriou 2014, p. 3). Of note, policies of interdiction
work unevenly and are implemented dissimilarly, as not all migrants are treated in the same way.
Thus, the US Border Patrol focuses its activities overwhelmingly on the southern US border
to stop Mexican and Central American migrants who travel by land (Heyman 1999), and the
US Coast Guard focuses its activities disproportionately on Haitians, Cubans, Dominicans, and
Chinese who travel across the Caribbean to reach the United States (Ryan 2010). We see a similar
situation in the European Union’s efforts with regard to migration from Africa.
The establishment of international electronic databases (Broeders 2007), exchanges of infor-
mation, and the development of common manuals in the European Union are additional examples
of how the externalization of borders occurs (Bigo & Guild 2005). In a thoughtful examination
of the activities of US foreign service officers stationed in Central America, McGuire & Coutin
(2013, p. 698) note that these officers “reproduce the ‘national’ in terms of U.S. interests, U.S.
jurisdictions that are transplanted abroad (as in the U.S. Embassy compound) and U.S. identities
as representatives of the United States.”
In today’s strategies of externalizing border controls, transit countries play a fundamental role
for the receiving countries in implementing management strategies to control migratory flows
from the Global South (Adepoju et al. 2010).6Even though the term transit in this context eludes
precise definition (see Collyer & de Haas 2012, Oelgem ¨
oller 2011) and transit areas might evoke
a loss of control (Collyer & de Haas 2012), it is in these spaces that we find, in concentrated form,
some of the most sophisticated mechanisms of the outsourcing of border enforcement.
Often the receiving and transit states engage in negotiations that involve transit states in the
enforcement of extraterritorial controls so as to prevent migrants from getting through these
territories en route to the receiving countries. Such agreements can take the form of cooperation
in repatriation agreements and projects that enhance border controls in transit countries (Djaji´
Michael 2013). They can also involve the training of personnel and transfers of technical and
financial assistance (Djaji´
c & Michael 2013), military intervention (Weiner & Munz 1997), and
even coordination of programs to ameliorate the effects of deportation to sending countries (Griffin
2009). Sometimes these agreements include development assistance (Weil 2002), but in general,
the powerful receiving countries offer transit countries various concessions on trade and foreign
assistance while exerting pressure on them to clamp down on transit migration.
One example of such agreements is provided by the close collaboration between the United
States and Mexico in the management and control of migration from Central and South America
through Mexico. In recent years, Mexico has instituted visa requirements for these migrants as
well as checkpoints throughout the Mexican territory (Hurrell 2006). In 2002, the two countries
established the Smart Borders initiative (or the Mexico–U.S. Border Partnership Action Plan),
which included infrastructure and security to control migratory flows and was intended not for
flows between the United States and Mexico but for those from further south, through Mexico, to
the United States. The two countries, along with Canada, also signed the Partnership for Prosper-
ity, which became the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in 2005, to promote
greater economic cooperation in the region (Delano 2012) but also to address security concerns
and border security through information sharing (Villarreal & Lake 2009). More recently, under
pressure from the United States Mexico has increased enforcement at its southern border. As
uvell (2012) observes that already in 1994, the International Organization for Migration urged its member states to
recognize transit migration as an important phenomenon in relation to irregular and asylum migration. Triandafyllidou
(2014) and Bernardie-Tahir & Schmoll (2014) examine how islands around the European Union are being used as outposts
in the framework of externalization and in the production of borders.
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well, in the European Union, an external dimension of immigration policy, the European Neigh-
bourhood Policy, the Cross-Border Cooperation/S ¨
oderk ¨
oping Process, the Euro-Mediterranean
Partnership, the Barcelona Process, the Western Mediterranean Forum, the Mediterranean Tran-
sit Migration (MTM) Dialogue, the International Organization for Migration’s project on transit
and irregular migration in Libya, and the 2009 agreement between Italy and Libya on joint sea
patrols (D ¨
uvell 2012, Kirchner 2010, Lavenex & Schimmelfennig 2009) provide examples of sim-
ilar programs to control migration in transit countries from further south.
The externalization of borders is a process so deeply intertwined with transit countries today
(and increasingly with sending countries as well; Lavenex 2006; Lavenex & Uc¸arer 2002, 2004) that
the ability of major receiving countries to stem the flow of migrants into their territories depends
on the extent to which their neighbors (Mexico for the United States; Northern African countries,
mostly Morocco but more recently Egypt and Libya, for the European Union) are willing and
able to control their own borders (Djaji´
c & Michael 2013). However, these external controls
include strategies that range from voluntary to constrained for the transit countries (Lavenex &
Uc¸arer 2004), as the imbalance of power between the receiving and transit countries constrains
the transit countries to enforce securitization objectives. For instance, the reinforcement of the
external border around the European Union required the collaboration of southern and eastern
neighbors, some of whom were eager to join the European Union. As potential EU member
states, eastern European countries were turned into a buffer zone, which was required for the
reinforcement of the European Union’s external borders (Andreas 2009). These states were also
compliant with requests to take back irregular migrants, so as to position themselves in a more
favorable light with EU governments. Indeed, Vachudov´
a (2000) observes that this is how several
former Soviet allies were able to prove their “Western” inclinations. However, as the examples
of eastern and southern European countries show, these buffer or transit zones fluctuate with the
political climate at a particular historical moment. Thus, instead of the externalization of borders
to the East with the fall of the Iron Curtain (Lavenex 2006), today the European Union’s border
management strategies have moved south, to manage immigration flows coming from Africa.
The European Union’s creation of the Southern maritime borders and reinforcement of Frontex
reflects the European Union’s objective for an integrated response through common external
borders (Carrera 2007), thus lessening differentiation within the European Union while increasing
differentiation between the European Union and sending countries (see Raustiala 2009).7
Given the magnitude of extraterritorial border controls, they have altered socially and eco-
nomically the transit zones in various ways. For instance, with increasing difficulties to reach
their destination, migrants end up staying indefinitely in these presumably transit areas; as such,
they are transformed from transit to arrival countries. As Collyer & de Haas (2012) note, there
are probably more sub-Saharan migrants living in North Africa, supposedly a waiting room for
migrants intending to cross to Europe, than in Europe. As well, Mexico is not simply a transit
area but a space where migrants linger for uncertain periods of time (Anguiano-T´
ellez 2008) or
simply end up settling (Rivas Castillo 2012). Thus, the turn to externalization has contributed
to transforming supposedly transit countries, such as Mexico and North African countries, into
countries of emigration, transit, and destination simultaneously (Raphael et al. 2006). This is why
the spaciality of border control becomes a key angle from which to examine these dynamics today.
It is also in these presumably transit areas (Anguiano-T´
ellez 2008, Casillas 2010, Collyer 2007)
that some of the most visible consequences of increased border control (at the physical border
7In a comparative study of the EU’s border externalization to the Baltic States and the Mediterranean, Christiansen et al.
(2000) note that as the European Union exports policies to control its borders to states beyond its membership, its borders
have become increasingly difficult to delineate. Immigration Law Beyond Borders 359
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but also in these buffer zones) are seen in the form of violence against migrants, which also carries
a transformative element for these zones. Examples include the harrowing experiences of African
migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea and of the Central and South Americans (and migrants
from around the world) who cross Mexico on their way to the United States (Servan-Mori
et al. 2014). Travel through these buffer or transit zones involves Senegalese men taking rickety
boats across the Gibraltar Strait to enter the European Union through Spain; Chinese migrants
undertaking similar voyages to reach the United States; and Central American women and men
crossing Mexico en route to the United States on “The Beast,” as the cargo train on which
they cling to hitch a ride is named (Carling & Hern´
andez-Carretero 2011, Golash-Boza &
ıvar 2012, Liang & Ye 2011, Sladkova 2013). The irregular status of these transmigrants
and the increased enforcement and policing in transit countries have made them increasingly
vulnerable to extortion, robbery, rape, and even murder (Collyer 2007, Rivas Castillo 2012).
Detention centers created in the Mediterranean as well as in other third countries also have been
the scene of procedural irregularities and routine human rights violations (Andrijasevic 2010).
These increasingly perilous journeys and the inhumane treatment of migrants en route expose
the consequences of the externalization of border enforcement to transit zones. The security
concerns and strategies to address migratory flows have transformed the nature of migratory
corridors, creating situations of concern over egregious human rights abuses, affecting the
migrants themselves but also entire communities through which they travel (Menj´
ıvar & Abrego
2012). Indeed, the violence that migrants face in these transit zones can undermine the social
fabric of the communities in the transit zones, with long-term consequences (Rivas Castillo 2012).
The other side of the coin, the insourcing of borders, is inextricably linked with border outsourc-
ing, as in practice the two strategies are combined when the identification, detention, deportation,
and interdiction of migrants are packaged as a multipronged approach to deter, stop, or con-
trol migratory flows (see Legomsky 2006). Sweeping administrative reforms have expanded the
bureaucracy of immigration control inward to unprecedented levels in several major receiving
countries, but they have been especially pronounced in the United States (Ellerman 2009). The
policing of immigrants—or as Rosas (2006) observes, the “policeability” of immigrants in interior
communities—and enforcement controls beyond the territorial boundaries toward the interior
(Coleman 2007, Ryan 2010) have made tactics such as deportation part and parcel of the interna-
tional system that controls the movement of individuals across borders (Walters 2002).
Detection, detention, and deportation strategies implemented across a wide range of
immigrant-receiving countries today (Costello 2012, Kanstroom 2007) are perhaps some of the
more visible forms of internal enforcement today. They work to regulate and enforce national
borders internally, police noncitizens (as well as citizens) (Silverman 2012), and, as such, play a key
role in the reconfiguration of citizenship and sovereignty in the global context (Pratt 2005). Signif-
icantly, the massive scale of these practices today, which would have been unheard of a few decades
ago, has become the norm in the context of contemporary immigration enforcement (Menj´
ıvar &
Abrego 2012, Peutz 2006), giving rise to millions of migrants removed and expelled from receiving
countries (Menj´
ıvar & Kanstroom 2014). As these interior immigration policies create paths for
the removal and deportation of millions, they also become routine tools to govern and control
immigrant populations (Richard & Fischer 2008, Willen 2010). However, mechanisms of internal
control do not have to lead to an actual removal or deportation, for the threat of deportability, or
the “regime of deportability” (De Genova 2002), alone can serve the same disciplinary purposes.
Thus, as Coutin (2010) notes, these practices have important spatial implications.
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Given the interconnected lives of migrants and their nonmigrant relatives in the sending coun-
tries, detention and deportation affect families across borders (Boehm 2012), as the experiences of
immigrants in the United States (Dreby 2012, Licona & Maldonado 2014, Schmalzbauer 2014),
Canada (Burman 2006), and the European Union (Reher et al. 2013) show. As the insourcing
and outsourcing of border controls are enmeshed in the same system, the detrimental effects of
current immigration policies of the powerful receiving countries can also be seen in the toll they
have on the nonmigrant family members in the sending countries, as the cases of Cape Verde
˚kesson et al. 2012), Mexico (Echegoy´
en Nava 2013), Honduras (McKenzie & Menj´
ıvar 2011),
and Ecuador and Ukraine (Boccagni 2012, Fedyuk 2012, Leifsen & Tymczuk 2012) demonstrate.
And although family separations have been common among almost all migrants at various
historical periods, immigration regimes today (in the legislative and enforcement sides) keep fam-
ilies separated for longer and for more uncertain periods of time (Menj´
ıvar 2006). These longer
and more uncertain separations have prompted an increase in the migration of unaccompanied
children to reunite with their parents in receiving countries (Chavez & Menj´
ıvar 2010), a flow
that has accelerated in recent years. This may be the only chance these immigrants have at family
reunification today. And in the cases of parents who are removed and deported and therefore
separated for uncertain periods of time from their children, scholars have unsurprisingly detected
a link between these separations and increased levels of reported depressive symptoms, feelings
of loss, and sadness in both adults and children (Dreby 2012, 2015; Su´
arez-Orozco et al. 2002).
Furthermore, immigration regulations have made it nearly impossible for migrants to bring
their spouses (N ´
nez Carrasco 2010, Khanum 2001), giving rise to different family arrangements
and to various practices associated with maintaining split families, sustaining parental obligations,
and remitting (Carling et al. 2012, Giralt & Bailey 2010). Family reunification legislation in the
United States has actually contributed to keeping families separated owing to limited visa alloca-
tions and increasingly challenging requirements to petition for family members (Enchautegui &
ıvar 2013). Immigration laws also jeopardize immigrant women’s legal and citizenship rights,
creating situations in which these women are excluded from full participation in society and their
labor rights are infringed (Salcido & Menj´
ıvar 2012). Relatedly, in efforts to attract skilled immi-
grants, successive governments in France have tried to reduce the share of family reunification visas
(Body-Gendrot 2008), as there is a supposition that these visas do not attract highly skilled workers.
The appetite for migrant labor in wealthier countries does not mean that immigrant workers
are received with open arms; indeed, high-income countries restrict the rights of migrant workers
as part of their labor immigration policies (Longazel & Fleury-Steiner 2011, Ruhs 2013). Thus,
in spite of much recognition of migrants’ rights (Battistella 1995, Ruhs 2013), the internalization
of border enforcement has transformed immigrant workers into deportable migrants (or even
criminals), often with tenuous claims to rights, a situation we see in the United States (De Genova
2002), Canada (Ellerman 2009), and Europe (Calavita 2005), as well as in Israel (Willen 2010).
In creating internal borders, receiving nations also resort to mechanisms that are not as visible
as deportations and detention but that in effect delink territorial presence and citizenship, as states
can also exclude through redefining laws that govern citizenship. This is the case for thousands of
permanent legal residents who have been deported from the United States (Golash-Boza 2014,
Kanstroom 2007). It is also the case for the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal’s
decision to deny citizenship to Haitian descendants (all those born after 1929), thus overnight
turning several generations of Dominican-born Haitians into stateless people within Dominican
territory (see Duany 2013), potentially subject to deportation. Another instance comes from US
policy makers who advocate for the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution
to remove birthright citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants (Chavez 2014).
Controls within the territory, or the “borders within” (Espiritu 2003), also include the use of secret Immigration Law Beyond Borders 361
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evidence, racial profiling, and the general criminalization and hypercriminalization of immigrants
today (Colombo 2013, Inda 2006, Inda & Dowling 2013, Miller 2005, Morris 1997, Palidda 2011,
Simon 1998, Welch 2002).
An expanding form of immigration control inside receiving countries’ territory is exem-
plified by a shift toward a “paradigm of temporary legality” (Kretsedemas 2012, p. e12; also
Chauvin et al. 2013), a strategy that has dramatically transformed migratory flows to the United
States and other major receiving countries (Calavita 2005) and on which today’s enforcement-
heavy system rests (Delano 2012, Hennebry & Preibisch 2012, Kretsedemas 2012). As a form of
immigration control that presumably prevents long-term immigrant settlement, such programs
grant immigrants only temporary legality with no paths for permanent settlement, placing them
in a legal limbo or “liminal legality” (Menj´
ıvar 2006) for uncertain periods of time. Immigrants in
these temporary spaces of legality have a higher likelihood of being separated from their families
for indefinite periods of time because they are not eligible to petition for their families to join
them but at the same time they cannot travel easily to be with their families.
These situations create a paradox in major immigrant-receiving countries, such as the United
States, Canada, and Australia, which consider themselves to be countries of immigration. Interna-
tional conventions, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, include language to affirm and pro-
tect family unity. The United Nations’ International Convention on the Protection of the Rights
of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families recognizes the family as the natural and
fundamental unit of society and requires that the unity of migrant workers’ families be protected.
It further specifies that when family members are separated, states must take appropriate measures
to facilitate prompt reunification (Menj´
ıvar & Rumbaut 2008). However, the principles enshrined
in these documents do not automatically entitle migrants to a right to reunification (see Battistella
1995) because none of the major receiving countries have ratified the Convention. To the con-
trary, they make it increasingly difficult for immigrants to reunite with their families. Thus, far
from upholding these principles, major receiving countries continue to enact policies that separate
immigrants from their families and jeopardize immigrants’ long-term membership in society.
As the powerful receiving countries deploy programs and strategies that envelop contiguous ter-
ritories in their securitization campaigns, images of physical borders as flexible and movable are
constructed; this seeming flexibility often gives a sense of a “loss of control” (Collyer & de Haas
2012). However, the expansion of borders has led to a reinforcement of borders, a revaluation of
citizenship, and a reconceptualization of spaces and geographies of state power (see also Licona &
Maldonado 2014). As such, the outward and inward expansion of borders highlights the enduring
power of the state and its spaciality, or as Torpey (2000) observes, the state’s monopoly over
legitimate means of movement. This expansion also exposes important contradictions, such as the
“functionality of the state’s apparent dysfunctions” (Fassin 2011, p. 217). A great deal of what is
happening on the ground regarding the securitization–migration nexus is occurring both inside
the territory of receiving countries as well as outside their borders, in transit countries but in
sending countries as well. Far from deteriorating, weakening, or losing significance in the face of
increased flows of capital, information, and commodities (see Anderson & O’Dowd 1999, Kearney
1991), the borders of a nation are reaffirmed as they expand inward and outward, away from the
physical demarcation between national territories.
The securitization turn at the root of the multidirectional border enforcement expansion to-
day has contributed to transform spaces, blurring the lines between national territories through
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extraterritorial activities of control while at the same time increasing differentiation internally (see
Coutin 2010, Raustiala 2009) through detention and deportation practices. Border expansion has
created “spaces of exception” as well. As McGuire & Coutin (2013) observe, foreign service workers
stationed extraterritorially in sending countries exist in an “exceptional space,” by necessity outside
of the national territory, to represent the nation. This is how borders are enforced and migratory
movements are controlled today, above and beyond the physical lines that separate countries.
As they lessen national territorial demarcations and enhance internal differentiation, the twin
processes of externalizing and internalizing border controls also create new subjectivities and
forms of subordination (Chauvin & Garc´
es-Mascare ˜
nas 2014). For instance, the construction of
immigrant “illegality” (De Genova 2002, Menj´
ıvar & Kanstroom 2014) is no longer confined to
the territorial borders of the receiving country; it is a process that starts before immigrants arrive
at the physical border, in transit areas and, in some cases, even at the point of departure. Fur-
thermore, the various internal and external techniques of control, including the visible strategies
of deportation and detention as well as the less visible measures that make family reunification
nearly impossible, are all based on hypersurveillance, detention without cause, and a host of prob-
lematic encounters between law enforcement and immigrants (Provine & Sanchez 2011). Such
approaches are based on and also sustain the hypercriminalization of immigrants, which encour-
ages ethnoracial profiling. This multipronged approach—inside, outside, and at the edges of the
territory—Legomsky (2006) argues, is more lethal than the sum of its parts.
The processes to which this review calls attention give rise to new forms of social stratifica-
tion inside national territories along lines of legal status and alienage (Chavez 2014, Menj´
ıvar &
Kanstroom 2014) and through the regulation of internal mechanisms leading to citizenship and le-
gal residence (Waldinger & Fitzgerald 2004). They are also based on a history of institutionalized
racism and discrimination (Hing 2009, Johnson 2009). The policing of migrants on a global scale,
together with the disciplining of migrants internally (Walters 2002), enhances the divide between
citizens and aliens in the receiving countries (Peutz 2006) and augments the power imbalances
between sending and receiving countries. Together these processes exacerbate global inequalities
and internal divisions, in material and symbolic ways (see also Van Houtum & Pijpers 2007). As a
result, the outsourcing and insourcing of border controls ultimately bolster the power of receiving
states on a global scale.
The author is not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might
be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.
I thank Laia Soto-Bermant and Megan Carney for thoughtful suggestions and stimulating con-
versations and William McDonald for first-rate research assistantship.
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Thomas William Lee, Tyler C. Burch, Terence R. Mitchell
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Lyman W. Porter, Benjamin Schneider
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... This trend towards securitization has had great consequences on public opinion surrounding immigration. As described by Menjívar (2014), "the fusing of immigration matters with securitization…leads to a growing tolerance on the part of the public to the infringement of immigrant's rights, indefinite detention, and even racial profiling" (p. 356). ...
This thesis draws from literature at the intersection of human rights, migration, gender, and borders. It analyzes migration as a gendered experience at the U.S.-Mexico border over the last ten years, looking at how the crossing experience of migrants varies by gender, as well as considering migrant deaths by sex. This paper gleans insights from interviews with migration-related agencies, and analyzes border patrol records and human rights reports. The main aim of this paper is to examine the differential impact that trends toward securitization, and its effect on the policies at the border, have on female migrants, looking at the southern Arizona and southern Texas areas. Findings illustrate that female migrants are vulnerable at the intersection of social and physical factors. Analyses indicate that female migrant death rates have been increasing at an especially sharp rate, and that female migrants are more likely to die of harsh environmental effects, with an especially strong difference between sexes in southern Texas. Migrant females were also found to undertake fewer crossing attempts and die closer to the border, especially in southern Arizona. Migrant females are also found to be more likely to travel in a family unit, which poses additional difficulties for their crossing. Finally, females are more likely to experience sexual assault before and during their crossing, which can have profound psychological impacts during crossing. Overall, findings illustrate that female migrants are vulnerable due to social and physical factors, suggesting their experiences should be analyzed across the whole border through these lenses.
... Such policies of border security externalization have proliferated globally (Casas-Cortes et al., 2016;Hathaway & Gammeltoft-Hansen, 2015;Norman et al., 2019;Norman & Mourad, 2020). The United States has enhanced its border security by pressuring Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to rebuff migrants and strengthen their own borders (Menjívar, 2014;Winters & Mora Izaguirre, 2019). Australia, South Africa, and Argentina similarly practice border externalization (Hyndman & Mountz, 2008;Segatti, 2011;Vammen, 2019;Watkins, 2017). ...
... Aunque se estima que el país acoge a unos 250 000 refugiados -la mayor población de América Latina-, solo 60 500 están oficialmente reconocidos (Asylum Access y Refugee Work Rights Coalition, 2014). Una población muy numerosa vive en un "limbo jurídico", parafraseando a Cecilia Menjívar (2014), confinada a largos e inciertos tiempos de espera y sobre todo a que en su día a día encarne de facto la ilegalidad migrante, pues no cuenta con documentos oficiales. Ese fue el caso de Joseph y Ebu, quienes en esos años de espera solo contaban con una carta oficial emitida por la Dirección Nacional de Refugio que confirmaba que su solicitud de refugio estaba en trámite. ...
Full-text available
El libro Racismos en Ecuador. Reflexiones y Experiencias Interseccionales es el resultado de un esfuerzo colectivo por plantear, sostener y generar reflexiones y praxis antirracistas en Ecuador. Desde 2018, el Colectivo Reexistencias Cimarrunas reúne discusiones desde dos ángulos conceptuales: el pensamiento antirracista y los feminismos interseccionales, en particular los feminismos negros, comunitarios e indígenas. En base a estas experiencias colectivas, este libro busca aportar al pensamiento y las acciones antirracistas desde el Abya Yala, resaltando la diversidad de geografías que unen territorios de resistencias y reexistencia - como los palanques y quilombos en todas las Américas, así como comunas y lugares ancestrales de los pueblos del Abya Yala.
... The externalization of border controls A variety of actions can be categorized as 'externalization measures', including both direct (for example, interdiction at land borders and sea) and indirect actions (for example, supporting border management policies in third countries). Externalization can occur through either bilateral and multilateral states' agreements or unilateral initiatives through which admission procedures and decisions become no longer confined to the actual physical border but involve the point of departure (or of transit) as well (Frelick, Kysel, and Podkul 2016;Menjívar 2014). In a nutshell, the term externalization refers to 'a process that moves the migration control policies beyond the (European) external borders' (Biondi 2012; see also Guild and Bigo 2005). ...
... Comme mis en évidence par Mascia (Mascia 2021), ce changement législatif a été introduit par les décideurs politiques en raison de préoccupations croissantes relatives à l'intégration des migrants et en raison d'une recrudescence (présumée) de mariages frauduleux à des fi ns migratoires. En tant qu'outil de contrôle des migrations (Bonizzoni 2016), les lois sur le regroupement familial se développent donc en continuité avec d'autres mesures restrictives caractérisant la gouvernance contemporaine (et sécurisée) des migrations en Europe (Menjívar 2014). ...
Full-text available
Comment le cadre juridique impacte-t-il les trajectoires de vie des personnes migrantes? Comment les migrants s’adaptent-ils à ce cadre pour tenter de réaliser leurs aspirations personnelles et familiales ? Pour répondre à ces questions, des juristes, des démographes et des sociologues se sont associés pendant cinq ans pour analyser finement le cadre légal et les contraintes et opportunités qu’il offre, pour retracer les trajectoires migratoires qui se déploient dans ce cadre, et pour recueillir les témoignages, en Belgique, de personnes originaires de pays extra-européens, avec une focale particulière sur les ressortissants congolais, indiens, et états-uniens. Au travers de trois scènes - le cadre légal et ses contraintes, les temporalités, et le regroupement familial- , cet ouvrage démontre combien les parcours sont marqués par des insécurités qui se cumulent. Celles-ci affectent les migrants sans pour autant annihiler leur aptitude à développer des projets professionnels et familiaux. Ce projet donne à voir les stratégies à l’oeuvre face aux contraintes qui sont elles-mêmes évolutives, et conduit à formuler des recommandations visant à une plus grande justice migratoire.
... This phenomenon was increasingly identified in the 1990s (Owers 1994;Morris 1998), ahead of Etienne Balibar's signal contributions nearly two decades ago (2002). Academic attention to the deterritorialisation of borders continued to grow in the 2010s, with scholars identifying both border externalisation and internalisation as key phenomena occurring alongside the securitisation of territorial frontiers themselves (Menjívar 2014). Underlying this is a processual shift in the understanding of borders-from physical borders to the processes of bordering. ...
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The “everyday bordering” concept has provided key insights into the effects of diverse bordering practices upon social life, placing the bordering of the welfare state among wider state interventions in an autochthonous politics of belonging. Sociological contributions have also introduced new explanations as to why states pursue such measures, positing that neoliberal states seek legitimacy through increasing activities to (re)affirm borders within this politics of belonging, compensating for a failure to govern the economy in the interests of citizens. To what extent is this visible in the state-led emergence of (everyday) borders around welfare in the United Kingdom, often cited as a key national case? This article draws from 20 elite interviews to contribute to genealogical accounts of the emergence of everyday bordering through identifying the developing “problematizations” connected to this kind of bordering activity, as the British state began to distinctly involve welfare-state actors in bordering policies in the 1990s and early 2000s. This evidence underlines how these policies were tied to a “pull factor” problematization of control failure, where the state needed to reduce various “pull factors” purportedly attracting unwanted migrants in order to control immigration per se, with little evidence that legitimacy issues tied to perceived declining economic governability informed these developments in this period. These findings can inform future genealogical analyses that trace the emergence of everyday bordering.
... assistance to border management policies in third countries). Externalization can occur through either bilateral and multilateral states' agreements and initiatives or unilateral actions (Frelick et al., 2016), through which admission procedures and decisions become no longer confined to the actual physical border, but involve the point of departure-or of transit-as well (Menjívar, 2014). In a nutshell, the term externalization refers to 'a process that moves the migration control policies beyond the external borders' (Biondi, 2012: 149). ...
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This article explores the relationship between policy narratives and the design of the Italian border management and external migration control regime in the last two decades. First, drawing from the theory of social construction and policy design and through a qualitative application of the Narrative Policy Framework, the article traces the evolution of narratives developed by key actors in government. Second, it investigates the design of the Italian externalization policy. Empirical material is drawn from government documents and decision-makers' parliamentary interventions, press conferences, speeches, newspaper interviews and op-eds. The evidence shows that the dominant narratives have remained constant over time. Humanitarian rhetoric has been mobilized to justify and legitimize the implementation of security measures through bilateral agreements signed with African countries. The implications of such a design are relevant in that it poses serious concerns in terms of respect for migrants' human rights. Overall, the article offers new insights into the empirical investigation of policy narratives and sheds light on the role of narratives in the social construction of migration policy design.
Undocumented Latina/os often describe their lives as ‘la lucha’, the struggle. To make ends meet ‘hay que batallar’, one must battle, work hard to ‘salir adelante’, get ahead. La lucha is interpretable as a frame that demarcates how undocumented Latina/os employ the performance of economic tasks to establish both individual and collective identity in the United States. Although claiming positive elements of racialised stereotypes as coping mechanisms and racialised illegality have been separately theorised, they have not been brought together in a theory of self. I use W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of ‘double-consciousness’, the sensation of “looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” that articulates Black Americans’ experience of racism to illuminate how the lucha frame resolves a conflict resonant in undocumented Latina/o identity. In the words of undocumented Latina/os from interviews in a Texas city, I illustrate how double consciousness reveals the simultaneity of uplift and collective struggle. It illuminates through la lucha the linkage of the context of the ‘struggle’ to internalization of the hard worker archetype, engaging these contradictory perspectives in a single identity. The existential elements of la lucha highlight need for policy addressing the liminality of undocumented life and instability of precarious work.
Dr. Hannes Warnecke-Berger responds by nuancing the marginality concept both in academic scholarship as well as updating it amid rapid urbanisation. With those insights, he sheds a light on the several complexities on the policies and political solutions proposed. In order to suit the current global situation of labour surplus, the model needs to be extended as well as embedded into a broader rethinking of the role of economic structures. The political nature of the class struggle of labour against capital rests on the issue of productivity increases, but the stone-for-cash scheme illustrated crucially does not change labour’s productivity.
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The main objective of this article is to explore the current status of Chiapas as a territory of cross-border labor mobility, as well as the Chiapas emergent participation in the intra-regional, national and international migratory flows, and its position as a space of transit for people who are moving trough its territory trying to find a job in another Mexican State or in the United States, most of these people are from Guatemala and Central American. Information provided by the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e Informatica, the Consejo Nacional de Poblacion, the Instituto Nacional de Migracion and two surveys available from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte is examined.
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International borders are open to some movements and forbid others. These roles appear to be opposites, with intensified cross-border transactions accompanied by a heightened interdiction of unauthorized immigrants and narcotics. This is an outcome of the contradictory political interests and ideas which promote and oppose globalization. These political processes not only shape general policies, but are expressed in the specific tasks and technologies applied by border control agencies. They are revealed through detailed ethnographic fieldwork on US agencies on the Mexican border, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), its Border Patrol and Inspection branches, the US Customs and the military.
Between 1981 and 1992, the US granted permanent resident status to an average of 845 000 immigrants each year, more than twice the annual level of the previous decade. In 1991, the US Congress enacted legislation that expanded legal immigration by about 35%. The combination of unsurpassed immigration and numerous economic challenges has sparked a heated national debate. Western Europe has been plagued with similar economic problems and still has managed to cope with immigration pressures. A look at the European response could provide valuable insight into the potential effectiveness of US reform options. As immigration pressures have increased, European countries have tightened their traditional entry regulations and streamlined asylum procedures. And, as joblessness has risen, employment-based immigration policies in Europe have become more restrictive. The European immigration experience demonstrates that many measures can be implemented at the national level to control immigration. The US has recently explored some of these options, but it has yet to grasp the magnitude of its immigration problem. -from Author
Peoples that span national borders are ambiguous in that they in some ways partake of both nations and in other ways partake of neither. This paper analyzes how the boundary ‐ the power to impose difference ‐ of the United States and Mexico is being eroded by transnational developments causing the structure of the nation‐states to become problematic. To the degree that anthropology is an official discipline predicated on the distinction between Self and the alien Other which it presumes to represent, the deterioration of the borders and boundaries of the nation‐state have serious implications for its epistemology and legitimacy and its power of representation of transnational communities and of difference in general. Furthermore, as national distinctions decline ethnicity emerges as a consciousness of difference.
This article studies the experiences of the non-migrating kin of Mexican undocumented emigrants to the United States. It examines the negotiations and changes in family life of those who stayed behind by looking at spouses', siblings' and parent-children's relations. First, it analyzes the perceptions and imaginaries that non-migrants hold of migrants' life abroad and introduces three possible outcomes for its conceptualization: positive overcompensation, neutral perspective and negative compensation. It also analyzes the positive changes in family dynamics for the individual self-perceptions of those who stay behind. Subsequently, it discusses the role played by the extended family in the household arrangements following emigration. Lastly, it explores the relations and adjustments taking place between return-migrants and those who stayed behind.