The Detention Corridor: Spatializing Migration Management and Uncertainty in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Authors: Jared Van Ramshorst*, Syracuse University
Topics: Political Geography, Migration
Keywords: Migration, Detention, Emotion, Affect, Biopolitics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 8, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the past decade, migrant detention and deportation have expanded rapidly. From sweeping removal programs to the construction of new detention centers, such practices have formed a key strategy of migration management in the U.S. In this paper, I examine the spatial and temporal logics of migrant detention and deportation in south Texas and along the U.S.-Mexico border. Building on existing scholarship, I trace the emergence of a detention corridor—a geographic area of interconnected sites, actors, and institutions involved in migrant detention and deportation. Contrary to the conventional logic of detention and deportation, which centers on removal and return, I show how migrants are actually funneled deeper into U.S. territory before they are ultimately deported. Migrant detention and deportation in south Texas, therefore, work through a peculiar set of spatial and temporal logics. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork, I explore how migrants experience this process through uncertainty and ambiguity, a state of confusion produced through biopolitical techniques and contradictory practices of migration management in the U.S.

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