Feminists at the Border

25 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2014

See all articles by Jennifer M. Chacón

Jennifer M. Chacón

University of California, Irvine School of Law; University of Oxford - Border Criminologies

Date Written: August 27, 2014


This essay was written in honor of Ann Scales, for her memorial symposium. Ann Scales was a critic of militarism. She challenged her readers to engage in "a radical critique of all of the excuses for and covers for the use of force — that is, a radical critique of militarism — in whatever context it appears." She also cautioned that this critique is perhaps most important in contexts where the influence of militarism is less obvious. This Essay takes up Scales's challenge to call out and critique militarism, and to do so in a context where the influence of militarism may be less obvious, by focusing on immigration law and policy. Part I of this Essay summarizes Scales's critique of militarism. Part II uses Scales's analysis of Nguyen v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which involved a failed sex-based equal protection challenge to a citizenship law, as a starting point for tracing out the broad influence of militarism on immigration law doctrines. Part III explores the obvious ways in which militarized immigration policies legitimate state-sanctioned violence, using the Sixth Circuit's 2013 decision in the case of Villegas v. Metro Government of Nashville as an illustrative example. Part IV argues the less obvious point that this kind of violent enforcement is used in the service of an immigration regime that is structured to reinforce gender hierarchies more broadly.

Suggested Citation

Chacón, Jennifer M., Feminists at the Border (August 27, 2014). Denver University Law Review, Vol. 91, No. 1, 2013, pp. 85-108; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-44; Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 2488094. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2488094

Jennifer M. Chacón (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
530-754-5700 (Phone)

University of Oxford - Border Criminologies ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

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