Saturday, March 5, 2022
Immigration Article of the Day: Shapeshifting Displacement: Notions of Membership and Deservingness Forged by Illegalized Residents by Susan Bibler Coutin, Jennifer Chacón, Stephen Lee, Sameer Ashar, Jason Palmer
Susan Bibler Coutin, Jennifer Chacón, Stephen Lee, Sameer Ashar, Jason Palmer, Shapeshifting Displacement: Notions of Membership and Deservingness Forged by Illegalized Residents, Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, vol. 12 no. 3, 2021, p. 339-353. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/hum.2021.0022.
This paper considers how accounts produced by illegalized residents in the United States shapeshift US immigration enforcement regimes by defining narrators and their communities as "belonging." Anthropologist Aimee Cox develops the notion of "shapeshifting" to refer to how groups that are deemed "social problems" redefine the institutions within which they are embedded. The illegalized residents interviewed for this paper redefined US immigration law and policy as arbitrary, racially biased, and exploitative, even as they argued that they deserved status in the United States. Such critiques and definitions of deservingness perform a politics of displacement, redrawing boundaries of belonging.