The Immigration Industrial Complex: Why We Enforce Immigration Policies Destined to Fail


This article provides a genealogy of the idea of an immigration industrial complex.The immigration industrial complex isthe confluence of public and privatesector interests in the criminalizationof undocumented migration, immigrationlaw enforcement, and the promotion of ‘anti-illegal’ rhetoric. This concept isbased on ideas developed with regardto the prison and military industrialcomplexes. These three complexes sharethree major features: (a) a rhetoric offear; (b) the convergence of powerful interests; and (c) a discourse of other-ization.This article explores why Congress has notpassed viable legislation to deal withundocumented migration, and instead has passed laws destined to fail, and hasappropriated billions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security toimplement these laws. This has been exacerbated in the context of the War on Terror,now that national security has been conflated with immigration law enforcement.This is the first in a two-part serieson the immigration industrial complex.

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Last updated on 11/04/2020