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Migrant "Illegality", race, and citizenship in the aftermath of "Homeland Security": The "War on Terrorism" at home in the United States


What does the 'War on Terrorism' mean for processes of racial formation and migrant transnationalism in the United States?

While the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 has been effectively global in scope, and especially salient wherever migrant labour or refugee flows are prominent, it is widely acknowledged that the United States has nonetheless played the central role as self-anointed protagonist.

Predictably, the almost instantaneous hegemony of a metaphysics of antiterrorism has radically reconfigured the politics of race, immigration, and citizenship in the United States. Indeed, with the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security in 2003, literally all matters concerning the administration of immigration, migrant eligibility for citizenship, and border enforcement were materially and practically subordinated to the prerogatives of antiterrorism.

The interlocking crises of the U.S. socio-political order - between heightened demands on citizenship and the erosion of civil liberties, imperial ambition and nativist parochialism, extravagant domestic law enforcement and global lawlessness and militarism - is replete with unpredictable dilemmas for migrant transnationalism, and unresolved possibilities for processes of racial formation in r elation to hegemonic projects of 'American' national identity and belonging.

This study examines how U.S. immigration law and border enforcement policies in particular have become the premier sites for conducting a putative 'War on Terrorism' domestically within the space of the U.S. nation-state, and how fundamental understandings of citizenship and national identity have been profoundly reformulated within the dominant ideological horizon of antiterrorism.

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