Peter B. Brownell



Border Militarization and the Reproduction of Mexican Migrant Labor

Brownell reveals how border enforcement structures unauthorized migration, which benefits U.S. capital interests in ways authorized migration does not. He discusses changes in U.S. policy and practice at the Mexican border under the rubric of militarization starting in September 1993. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has dubbed this shift in policy its “Comprehensive Southwest Border Enforcement Strategy.” Brownell argues that the shift in border policy seeks to address economic concerns of the U.S. electorate. This new policy actually exacerbates the issues underlying these concerns. Changes in the composition of migrant flows may have effects that are independent of changes in the size of those flows. These effects are similar in many respects to proposals by agribusiness for a new guest-worker program. Organized labor has staunchly opposed a new agricultural guest-worker program. Despite this similarity, the public largely perceives the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border as protecting U.S. workers from the economic effects of undocumented immigration.

immigration, border militarization, migrant labor — Mexican, border patrols — United States, immigrants — Mexican — United States, immigrants — undocumented immigrants — United States, labor and laboring classes — immigrant labor — United States, Mexican-American border region, United States — Immigration and Naturalization Service, United States — immigration policy

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 28, No. 2 (2001): 69-92