Mexicans of Mass Destruction

Samuel Martínez

in International Migration and Human Rights

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258211
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942578 | DOI:
Mexicans of Mass Destruction

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This chapter emphasizes the contemporary immigration law which ignores a constitutional revolution that embraced the norm of nondiscrimination against racial minorities. Instead of expanding legal protections for people vulnerable to abuses of official power, recent U.S. legislation on immigration narrowed the rights of out-of-status aliens and asylum seekers and sought to confine them within a parallel immigration judicial system, which does not publish its findings, permit extensive outside scrutiny, or allow for appeal to other courts of law. The attacks of 9/11 warranted a vigorous and searching investigation, followed by rapid but calculated steps to help secure the safety of U.S. residents. The nation saw a repetition of the tendency to scapegoat immigrants in the face of emergency. Just as the demonization of Eastern European immigrants as subversives and Japanese Americans as possible saboteurs were preceded by a general undercutting of those groups as welcome members of American society, so the abuses of noncitizens that took place after September 11 were made easier by the preceding years of attacks on immigrants that undercut their claims to be treated equally and fairly. A similar kind of racial labeling has gone on around Mexican immigration. If there has been one constant in both pre- and post-9/11 public discourse on national security it has been the alleged threat to the nation posed by Mexican immigration and the growing number of Americans of Mexican descent in the United States.

Keywords: Mexicans; mass destruction; national security; immigration; racial minorities; legal protection; racial labeling

Chapter.  6925 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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