Accepted Papers:

Securitized immigration and the laboring body in the United States  


Daniel Goldstein (Rutgers University)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper examines the effects that E-Verify technology produces in communities of undocumented Latino workers who, having successfully established themselves and their families in the United States, now face new threats to their livelihoods and new path to deportation.

Paper long abstract:

The border surrounding the territory of the United States has been interiorized. As efforts have intensified to police immigration in the name of creating "Secure Communities" (a centerpiece of the Obama administration's immigration policy), the locus of securitization has focused on spaces within the international border, including states and local communities. The workplace, too, has been transformed into a site of immigration enforcement through the use of an electronic program called E-Verify, which matches individual identities with federal databases to identify those eligible and ineligible to work legally in the United States. Through E-Verify, immigration enforcement has been invisibilized, screened from public view and disembodied from immigration officials, even as it deputizes private sector employers as immigration police. E-Verify, like other forms of invisibilized securitization, is terrifying to those whom it polices. Which, this paper contends, is precisely the point. Invisible policing of immigrants represents the frontline of enforcement of unjust immigration policies, generating terror intended to penetrate immigrant subjectivities and produce passive enforcement, or "self-deportation," of the undocumented. Having failed to block immigration at the border and faced with increasing agitation for immigration reform, the state deploys technologies like E-Verify to attack immigrant selfhood, identity, and security, and produce an effect that other methods have been unable to achieve.

Panel P001
Bodies of evidence, experts, and intimacy in the anthropology of security (EASA Anthropology of Security Network)