Raymond Michalowski



Border Militarization and Migrant Suffering: A Case of Transnational Social Injury

Using observant-participation with humanitarian and social action organizations in the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector, the article explores the human rights and socio-legal implications of immigration and border enforcement policies that, through commission and omission, result in preventable suffering and death for thousands of people who migrate in order to labor. The author examines four propositions: (1) that border militarization increases the likelihood that unauthorized entrants will unnecessarily suffer a variety of social injuries; (2) that the injurious consequences of these policies are as harmful and as wrongful as many acts designated as state crimes, because they are specifically designed to force migrants into hazardous environments; (3) because these injuries result from attempts to control transnational actors in transnational contexts, they are analogous to other forms of transnational crime; and (4) that immigration control through border militarization is an attempt to counteract the legitimacy crisis of the neoliberal state.

immigration, migrants, borders, social injury, border death, transnational crime

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, No. 2 (2007): 62-76