Victor Ortiz



The Unbearable Ambiguity of the Border

In a piece on the dynamics of El Paso, Ciudad Juárez’ border sister, Ortiz examines the contextual dimensions that foster and sustain border rights violations. He provides ethnographic research and probes the work of U.S.-Mexico border scholars. This article argues that recognizing the contextual dynamics in El Paso helps us to understand pervasive incongruent practices and representations related to the border region. Such recognition of the ambiguous and unstable condition of the border region may generate more comprehensive and effective responses to disruptive INS militarization practices. Improvements in documenting abuses and policies should enhance their effectiveness and appeal with local populations once their displaced situation is addressed. In El Paso and along most of border region, this social cost of abuses fosters a pervasive sense of alienation. The social fabric is corroded and the basis for a sustainable response to INS atrocities erodes. Information on the abuses or on the INS is not enough.

global issues, border studies — Texas, Mexico, immigrants — Mexican — United States, Mexican-American border region, Mexico — maquiladoras, United States — Immigration and Naturalization Service

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 28, No. 2 (2001): 96-112