Commentary: The U.S.-Mexican Border, Immigration, and Resistance
by María L. Cruz-Torres
Border crossing and its implications for both indigenous communities in Mexico and Mexican communities in the United States were at the heart of my late colleague Michael Kearney’s research, personal commitment, and activism. He sought to understand the movement of people in global and transnational spaces. Contributing to Michael’s legacy, Lynn Stephen’s article raises many important issues that provide us with a broad historical and contemporary perspective on the movement of people across borders. Her discussion begins with the immigration policies of the 1980s under the Reagan administration and ends with those of the Obama administration, both of which have permitted and prohibited the entry of people into the country by creating and implementing a set of legally ambiguous categories for labeling, separating, and stigmatizing people. The underlying laws, regulations, and policies have led to racial profiling or what Stephens calls the “differential perception” of an entire population based on physical appearance, gender, ethnicity, language, or degree of cultural and social assimilation.
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