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How Citizenship Produces Inclusion And Exclusion On The US-Mexico Border

Tony Payan
Published 2012 · Political Science

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This chapter examines a few cases of borderlanders in the region Paso del Norte to illustrate the dislocations in justice and righteousness that the current immigration and citizenship regime has produced. The analysis calls attention to several types of dislocations: the economic, political, and racial disenfranchisement of some and the privileged condition of others, based on an increasingly flawed legal immigration and citizenship system that includes and excludes on the bases of a mere accident of life, one’s birthplace. To this, the chapter adds two other grinding processes, the globalization and securitization of daily life, to show how an individual’s condition—with or without papers—bears hard on his or her access to opportunities and ultimately the good life. The chapter concludes that the current legal immigration system balkanizes human beings and creates a caste-like system that rubs against the values of freedom, democracy, and equality. Nowhere, it is argued, is this more evident than at the borders of inequality, where wealth and development meet poverty and underdevelopment.
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