Politics as usual: the criminalization of asylum seekers in the United States
This paper explores the legislated, tactical, and discursive means by which asylum seekers and criminals have been cast analogously as both figures of putative threat and beings undeserving of the rights of citizenship over the past decade in the United States. It argues that one cannot fully understand the politics of asylum and unauthorized migration in the US without an analysis of the overwhelmingly penal and criminalizing mechanisms by which such politics are practiced. By critically assessing these mechanisms within asylum management technologies, it finds that contemporary immigration and asylum measures serve a variety of political and social functions domestically, distinct from the goal of restricting entry. These alternative functions include bolstering state legitimacy, facilitating the regulation and exploitation of labour, and containing social and political unrest.