Feminists at the Border
25 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2014
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.
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