Border security infrastructure projects : space, access, and mobility in the San Diego-Tijuana Transborder Region

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2021-01-25

Authors

Galaviz, Manuel Guadalupe

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Abstract

A primary aim of the U.S. government since the Immigration Act of 1917 is to regulate immigration and stop the entry of unauthorized border crossers. This dissertation examines the border security policies that have been passed by U.S. Congress to stop undocumented immigration from 1924 to 2018 in the San Diego-Tijuana Transborder Region. A second purpose of this dissertation is to illustrate how the public, specifically Latinx Mexican and Mexican American population’s access to public space, is affected due to the way border security policies limit their mobility and have led to their ethnic profiling because often they are racialized as undocumented. To explore the process of border security spatial interdiction, I conducted a 15-month ethnography from August 2017-November 2018, interviewing residents on both sides of the border. By employing transborder ethnographic methods and guided by racial spatial theories, I demonstrate how the infrastructures produced by border security policies, such as border patrol checkpoints and border fencing, led to social and legal processes that bar Latinx undocumented populations along the San Diego-Tijuana border from enjoying public space free of harassment or fear of deportation, such as in parks and along roads and freeways. Theoretically, I provide an analysis of the politics of infrastructure and their relation to the production of space and spatiality. In this dissertation, I also illustrate how color and class determine modes of access to space for other Latinx people who are not undocumented. That is, through interviews gathered about Border Patrol apprehension and detention stories, I found that the apprehended configure social spatial practices. I conclude that the militarized atmosphere generated by current border enforcement practices and military bases in San Diego County contribute to the segmentation of access to mobility opportunities for undocumented and racialized Latinx populations

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