Necropolitics vs. immigration : (in)justice at the border




Arias, Abel, Jr.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Using concepts and theories proposed by Achile Mbembe, Sayak Valencia, and John D. Marquez, I explore two different cases in which undocumented immigrants have died at the hands of legitimate and illegitimate necropower. I explore Mbembe’s concept of legitimate necropower and apply it to the death of Chuy, an undocumented immigrant who died in a detention center in Eloy, Arizona in 2015. For this, I visit the podcast “What Happened to Jose de Jesus,” presented by Daniel Alarcon. I then explore Valencia’s concept of illegitimate necropower and apply it to the deaths of a group of undocumented immigrants in the movie Desierto (2015). I examine particular movie components, scenes, and observations and explain how, even though it’s a fictitious story, real life elements can be found. Upon establishing how legitimate and illegitimate necropower work, I use the work of Marquez to tie them together and show how the end goal of necropower, whether it’s legitimate or illegitimate, is to protect and maintain the sovereignty of the United States. Finally, to show some of the societal responses and consequences of American necropower, I explore the work and help that has been offered by activist individuals and groups such as Ricardo Dominguez with the Transborder Immigrant Tool and Enrique Morones with the Border Angels.


LCSH Subject Headings