USA in our Generation: Criminalization of Immigrants

Tomgram: Aviva Chomsky, The Criminalization of Immigrants From Clinton to Trump

From his “big, fat, beautiful wall” to his travel bans, much of Donald Trump’s push to isolate America, like so much else in his program, has hit a series of ugly speed bumps.  Not only won’t the Mexicans “pay” to build that much-promised wall, but even Congress is unlikely to do so, as its price tag soars by the week.  Of course, much of what Trump wants to do when it comes to keeping “them” out, or throwing “them” out, has (as TomDispatch regular Aviva Chomsky writes today) already been done.  Our last president wasn’t given the moniker of “deporter-in-chief” by his critics for nothing, and as for that wall, a far more sophisticated, layered version of it is already in place, complete with advanced sensors, cameras, drones, biometrics, spy towers, radar systems — much of the technology tested on America’s distant battlefields — as well as actual walls.  Even if there isn’t a single old-fashioned wall along the full length of the U.S.-Mexican border, the construction of the layered “wall” that does exist began in the years of Bill Clinton’s presidency and its expansion has continued in a bipartisan fashion ever since.

And yet, even if Donald Trump never builds his wall, his attitude, whether toward Mexicans or Muslims, and the spirit of nativism and authoritarianism he’s released in those who police and bureaucratically control America’s borders, along with a bully-boy language that relies on phrases like “extreme vetting” and on demands to turn over personal passwords for electronic equipment at the border, will go a significant way toward walling this country in.  Take tourism.  Just the other day, Dubai’s government-owned airline, the largest in the Middle East, announced that it was significantly cutting back on its flights to the U.S. because interest among its customers had fallen radically and bookings were way down.  (“The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S.”)

But it isn’t just Mexicans and Muslims, the obvious targets of Trump’s banning efforts and other restrictive urges, who are losing their urge to travel here; it’s true, too, of Asians and Europeans.  According to travel companies, interest in voyaging to America, whether for vacation or business, is down across the planet.  Searches for flights to the U.S. have, for instance, dropped by 13% in Great Britain, 35% in New Zealand, and 40% in China.  Twenty-nine percent of Britons recently claimed that they were far less eager to holiday in America. (Globally — go figure — only Russian interest seems to be up.)  And if, as Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has warned, the present visa-less travel from most European countries comes into question, watch out.

Already, it seems clear that tourism to the U.S. has taken a genuine hit — a drop, reports the Bureau of Economic Analysis, of 10.2% for last December, January, and February.  According to Tourism Economics, 4.3 million visitors will decide not to come to the U.S. this year, a potential loss of $7.4 billion, and in 2018 those figures might rise to 6.3 million and $10.8 billion. (The “Trump slump” in tourism already underway will obviously also mean lost jobs for the jobs president.)

And don’t forget that, as with America’s wars, so with the walling in of America, there’s a distinct history here for President Trump to build on and, as Aviva Chomsky writes today, it’s a history that is remarkably, dismally bipartisan. Tom

Making Sense of the Deportation Debate
How Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Laid the Groundwork for Trump’s Immigration Policies
By Aviva Chomsky

Ever since he rode a Trump Tower escalator into the presidential race in June 2015 and swore to build his “great wall” and stop Mexican “rapists” from entering the country, undocumented immigrants have been the focus of Donald Trump’s ire. Now that he’s in the Oval Office, the news has been grim. A drumbeat of frightening headlines and panicked social media posts have highlighted his incendiary language, his plans and executive orders when it comes to immigrants, and the early acts of the Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when it comes to round-ups and deportations.  The temperature has soared on the deportation debate, so if you think we’re in a completely unprecedented moment when it comes to immigration and immigrants, you’re in good company.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Ironies of social control and the criminalization of immigrants

M Welch – Crime, Law and Social Change, 2003 – Springer
As moral panic over immigrants spreadduring the early 1990s, immigrationpolicies became
increasingly criminalized in the wake of the bombingsof the World Trade Center in 1993 and
ofthe Murrah Federal Building in OklahomaCity in 1995. In response to the threat ofterrorism

The criminalization of immigrants as a racial project

DM Provine, RL Doty – Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 2011 –
Abstract Contemporary policy responses to unauthorized immigration, we argue, reinforce
racialized anxieties by (a) focusing attention on physically distinctive and economically
marginalized minorities who are defined as the nation’s immigration “threat,”(b) creating new

The Criminalization of Immigrants & the Immigration-Industrial Complex

KM Douglas, R Sáenz – Daedalus, 2013 – MIT Press
Abstract: Over the last few decades, and particularly after 9/11, we have witnessed the
increasing criminalization of immigrants in the United States. Changing policies have
subjected immigrants to intensi½ed apprehension and detention programs. This essay

Immigration control, post-Fordism, and less eligibility: A materialist critique of the criminalization of immigration across Europe

A De Giorgi – Punishment & Society, 2010 –
The apparent de-bordering of the western world under the impulse of economic
globalization has been paralleled by a simultaneous process of re-bordering of late-
capitalist societies against global migrations. This re-bordering is part of a broader punitive

AReserve Army of Delinquents’ The Criminalization and Economic Punishment of Immigrants in Spain

K Calavita – Punishment & Society, 2003 –
Abstract This article explores the role ofirregular’immigrants in the political economy of
Spain, their related criminalization and the forms of punishment that attach to their illegal
status. Based on secondary data, government documents and field research, I argue that

The Criminalization of Immigration Law: Employer Sanctions and Marriage Fraud

MI Medina – Geo. Mason L. Rev., 1996 – HeinOnline
MARRIAGE FRAUD Maria Isabel Medina* INTRODUCTION In recent decades, most Western
industrialized nations have experi- enced a substantial influx of undocumented aliens.’ In North

Suitable enemies’ Foreigners and immigrants in the prisons of Europe

L Wacquant – Punishment & Society, 1999 –
1 1 On this process of the criminalization of immigrants, see the comparative works North Africans,
the French offspring of Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian immigrants who came des immigrés
en Belgique”, in Salvatore Palidda (ed.) Délit d’immigration/immigrant delinquency.

Iniuria Migrandi: criminalization of immigrants and the basic principles of the criminal law

A Spena – Criminal Law and Philosophy, 2014 – Springer
Abstract In this paper I am specifically concerned with a normative assessment, from the
perspective of a principled criminal law theory, of norms criminalizing illegal immigration.
The overarching question I will dwell on is one specifically regarding the way of using

Immigration geopolitics beyond the Mexico–US border

M Coleman – Antipode, 2007 – Wiley Online Library
of threat which typifies the Mexico–US border as a site where masses of immigrants from the I
argue that together, the criminalization of immigration law, as well as the enrollment of the two
major trends discussed in the paper—the development of a criminalized and exceptional

Rolling Back the Tide: Challenging the Criminalization of Immigrants in Washington State

A Cházaro – Seattle J. Soc. Just., 2012 – HeinOnline
For the past five years, I have worked as an attorney with the Northwest Immigrant Rights
Project (NWIRP), a Washington State-based nonprofit that provides legal representation to
low-income immigrants and refugees. NWIRP staff members help people both obtain and


About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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