We begin with the story of Prudenica Martin Gomez, who died while attempting to cross the us-mexico border

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Neoliberalism Links


Border control is used to propagate neoliberalism—those deemed without economic value are managed and excluded by the border

Sparke 2006 - [Matthew, Professor of Geography and International Studies, Adjunct Professor of Global Health, Director of the University of Washington's Online Integrated Social Science Major “A Neoliberal Nexus: Economy, Security, and the Biopolitics of Citizenship on the Border,” published in an edited form as “A Neoliberal Nexus: Citizenship, Security, and the Future of the Border,” in Political Geography, 25.2 pp. 156]
It would be mistaken to exaggerate the transnationalism of NEXUS lane enrollees. Theirs¶ would not appear to be a particularly challenging or worldly cosmopolitanism, but rather¶ what¶ Calhoun (2003: 106¶ e¶ 107)¶ calls a ‘soft cosmopolitanism’ undisturbed by having to leave¶ a country behind, let alone by intercultural negotiations with communities of difference.¶ ‘‘Aided by the frequent flyer lounges (and their extensions in ‘international standard hotels’),’’¶ Calhoun argues that such soft cosmopolitans ‘‘meet others of different backgrounds in spaces¶ that retain familiarity’’. The familiarity of the NEXUS lane space for its enrollees seems espe-¶ cially convenient and economical. They do not have even have to meet others and can simply¶ stay in their cars or move unmolested through the airport. Moreover, while the lane reinstates¶ the fast border-crossing movements once afforded by the PACE lane, it is also obviously more¶ deeply integrated with the many other familiar features associated with the fast track lifeworlds¶ of what¶ Adey (in press)¶ usefully describes as today’s ‘‘kinetic elites’’. Expedited airport screen-¶ ing for upper class frequent fliers, shorter check-in lines, valet parking, pay as you go highway¶ express lanes, and the multiple privileges and protections for owners of premier-status credit¶ cards would all appear to share a deep affinity with the sort of fast lane transnational civil cit-¶ izenship rights provided by NEXUS. At the very same time, though, it needs noting that all the¶ border biometric developments can also be reconsidered from a more skeptical position as part¶ and parcel of a more restrictionist regime. Alongside the NEXUS lane, after all, the U.S. gov-¶ ernment has been simultaneously preparing to send military drones, so-called unmanned¶ UAVs, to patrol the borders, and in the Pacific Northwest, where the business boosters¶ once called for border bulldozing, the Pentagon has already deployed a sensor-laden air-¶ craft, a Blackhawk helicopter and boats that will operate out of a new command center¶ in Bellingham, Washington (¶ Biesecker, 2004; UPI, 2004¶ ). Moreover, it might also be noted¶ that NEXUS is itself basically modeled on an older biometrics-based pre-clearance system¶ called SENTRI that was first developed on the US¶ e¶ Mexico border as part of the geopolit-¶ ical border hardening regime made famous in the restrictionist terms of ‘‘Operation Block-¶ ade’’ and ‘‘Operation Hold the Line’’ (¶ Ackelson, 2005¶ ). The acronym SENTRI supposedly¶ stands for ‘Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection’ and the program operates in the words of the US Customs agency ‘‘to swiftly accelerate the inspections of¶ certain low risk, pre-enrolled crossers at ports of entry’’ (¶ U.S. Customs, 2005a,b¶ ). However,¶ by simultaneously signaling a sentry-like defense of the border, SENTRI also sends a message of militarized border control which the same Customs agency describes in the follow-¶ ing defensive details: ‘‘A combination of electric gates, tire shredders, traffic control lights,¶ fixed iron bollards, and pop-up pneumatic bollards ensure physical control of the border¶ crosser and their vehicles. Using computer generated random compliance checks, and the¶ Inspector’s own initiative, the Federal Inspection agencies have detected only minor viola-¶ tions of customs and immigration laws’’ (¶ U.S. Customs, 2005a,b¶ ). It is this display of bor-¶ der control through SENTRI that has now been extended north to NEXUS. Before, the¶ northern border, the so-called longest undefended border in the world, was merely bridged¶ by a PACE lane advertising the benefits of speedy crossing. But now NEXUS, following the¶ model of SENTRI, promises to bring the demands of economic facilitation together with¶ a much more restrictionist regime for those deemed unwanted and undeserving of expedited¶ service. In other words, just like SENTRI, NEXUS now also seems to perform the double¶ talk of ‘economy’ and ‘security’, thereby sending the message that it is working to increase¶ rather than undermine homeland securitization. Commentators in American anti-immigration¶ groups in turn apparently get this message of control and like it.¶ Vaughan (2005)¶ of the¶ Center for Immigration Studies, for example, has thus recently lauded both SENTRI and¶ NEXUS as the modernized direction in which U.S. border control should be developed¶ more generally. ‘‘Programs like NEXUS, SENTRI,’’ she says approvingly, ‘‘have been¶ shown to help minimize the impact of new security measures on lines at the ports of en-¶ try’’. And meanwhile, even the Canadian authorities who have been most keen to push the¶ economic facilitation side of the Smart Border developments remain keen to underline the¶ security side on the NEXUS webpage. Thus after the invitation to ‘‘Cross Often? Make it¶ simple, use NEXUS,’’ the CBSA site goes on to stress: ‘‘The NEXUS programs enable¶ Canadian and Unites States customs and immigration authorities to concentrate their efforts¶ on potentially high-risk travelers and goods, thereby upholding security and protection¶ standards at the border.’’

The political economy fuels the mobility gap, excluding the poor and creating the global mobility regime

Shamir 05 (Ronen, Professor of Sociology at Tel-Aviv University, 2005 “Without Borders? Notes on Globalization as a Mobility Regime,” Sociological Theory 23.2 http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a38a1096-53e7-4f5d-8fb2-678c41fae19b%40sessionmgr10&vid=4&hid=26)
The fundamental elements of the mobility regime are analytically distinguished in this article. For this analysis to take place, the point of departure is that the differential ability to move in space—and even more so to have access to opportunities for movement—has become a major stratifying force in the global social hierarchy. The so-called mobility gap covers a wide continuum of social possibilities, stretching from the differential ability of farmers to deliver their products to nearby towns, to the differential ability to enter a corporate compound in a third-world country; from the severely restricted ability of an unemployed inner-city woman to find work and to shop, to the severely restricted ability of Pakistani citizens to visit family members in London. The mobility gap, in and of itself, is an expression of the conditions of the possibilities of movement, such as socioeconomic factors, geographical locations, cultural imperatives, and political circumstances. However, all of these variables operate in relation to a trans-national political economy of movement.The blatant inequality of access to mobility,” writes Bauman, “is not just the expectable, since ‘natural’, effect of income differentiation, casting the costs of transport beyond the reach of the poor. Differentiation of mobility chances is one of the few strategies avidly and consistently pursued by the governments of more affluent areas in their dealings with the population of less affluent ones” (2002:83). The epistemological, technical, and institutional expression of this political economy is that which I hereby designate as a global mobility regime. Thought of as a modality that works at local, regional, and global levels, we may thus begin to theorize the mobility regime as an important feature of globalization. A series of questions ensue. How does the mobility regime develop and how is it maintained? What are the social technologies that facilitate it? What sorts of social imageries sustain it?


Global competition and hegemony influence immigration policy, leaving out considerations for the migrant worker.

Tannock ’09 (Stuart, 9-1-13, “White-collar imperialisms: the H-1B debate in America,” Social Semiotics 19: 3, 320-1, J.C)
Current calls for expanding the H-1B visa program, then, when made by business dominated coalitions such as Compete America and others, have come to be linked explicitly with a project of protecting America’s ‘‘supremacy,’’ ‘‘leadership,’’ ‘‘preeminence,’’ or ‘‘edge’’ over other nations (AILA 2007; Compete America 2007; National Academies 2005). This is thanks in part to the increasingly naked language of US imperialism that was unleashed with the attacks of September 11 (Foster 2005). ‘‘Without more access to H-1Bs,’’ the AILA (2007, 51) insists, ‘‘the US stands to lose rapidly not only the competitive edge generations of Americans have worked so hard to achieve, but also its pre-eminence in a variety of scientific and technical fields areas vital to our prosperity and national security.’’ What astonishes about these arguments is their utterly unquestioned assumption, first, that America should have the absolute right and ability ‘‘to hire and retain the world’s best talent’’ (Compete America 2007); and second, as seen in the quotation of President Bush above, that foreigners should be expected to want to help America address its problems and increase its prosperity rather than those of the countries elsewhere around the world where their own communities and families live. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is often alleged by anti-war campaigners to have once said: ‘‘it’s not our fault God put America’s oil under other people’s countries’’ (Galloway 2007). It is this kind of logic precisely that generates the endlessly repeated statements that highly-skilled foreign workers should be brought to America’s shores to buttress its position of global hegemony. The rest of the world’s resources exist in order to service American needs and help America help itself. Whether these resources be oil and gas or scientific and engineering talent, the ideology of imperialist self-interest remains essentially unchanged. The anti-H-1B side: preserving US privilege I grew up in the border town of El Paso, Texas. Occasionally I would stand on the bridge that spans the Rio Grande River. From this bridge I could watch the illegal aliens from Juarez, Mexico, with suitcases in hand, dash across the shallow river to enter the United States . . . . As a young boy I couldn’t understand why the army wasn’t on the border and ever since that time I was interested in border issues such as immigration . . . . My education was completed at the University of Texas at El Paso . . . . I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering which I used to get a job at Motorola in Arizona . . . . For most of my career as a software engineer I never imagined that immigration would personally affect my career that was until I felt the sting of unemployment. As I approached the age of 40 I learned that foreign nationals that come to the US with H-1B visas were flooding the labor market, and companies were using these young workers to eliminate older Americans like myself. (From biography of Rob Sanchez, host of the anti-H-1B web site: www.jobdestruction.info) At first glance, opposition to the H-1B program in America is based, as Chakravartty (2006b) and others have observed, on a particularly strident and sweeping, closed and insular, and often overtly racist form of nationalist sentiment. Lined up against pro- H-1B groups such as Compete America is an assemblage of labor unions, disaffected worker groups and anti-immigrant organizations that argue that strict limits should be placed on both temporary and permanent skilled worker visas, and even that the H-1B program should be eliminated entirely (Chakravartty 2006b). The argument of these groups is that jobs in America (good jobs, especially) are ‘‘American jobs’’ that should be preserved for American citizens first before being given away to undeserving foreigners, whether through offshoring to other countries or expanded¶ H-1B and green card programs domestically (Jackson 2002; Matloff 2003; Roberts¶ 2005). Such views are represented transparently in the names of many of the groups¶ set up to oppose the H-1B: the National Hire American Citizens Professional Society,¶ the Rescue American Jobs Foundation, the Organization for the Rights of American¶ Workers, the Coalition for the Future American Worker, and so on.¶ Despite this apparent nationalist insularity, however, the politics of anti-H-1B¶ protest, like that of the pro-H-1B side, are global in scope and spring from a¶ particular moment in the evolution of international political economy. The opposition of these groups to the H-1B visa is based on their anger, dissent and confusion over the changing terms of how the spoils and privileges of American imperialist and capitalist power are to be distributed domestically. In testimony¶ before Congress in spring 2006, AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employment¶ executive director Michael Gildea laid out the basic point of contention:¶ [The] H-1B was initially designed to address small, ‘spot’ labor shortages of minimum duration. Our affiliated organizations have no problem with that basic concept. But we vehemently object to how this program has over time contorted into something completely contrary to its original intent and that now victimizes large numbers of highly skilled, American professionals . . . . As they used to say in one of this nation’s¶ greatest technology initiatives, the space program ‘‘Houston, we’ve got a problem.’’¶ And I would suggest it’s a big one. Only this time it’s not those textile, steel, machine¶ tool and other manufacturing jobs; many of them are long gone. Now it’s the high tech,¶ high end, high paying jobs that are headed out of town. These are the same jobs we were¶ smugly assured by free trade advocates the US would retain as our manufacturing base¶ was exported. (Gildea 2006)¶ The vitriol and hyperbole that often accompany opposition to the H-1B visa¶ program arise because this program symbolically threatens an implicit agreement¶ struck between US capital and the American middle and working classes during the¶ early phases of neo-liberal globalization. In return for supporting (or at least¶ consenting to) a neo-liberal project of reform that would see much high-wage¶ manufacturing work disappear to low-wage destinations outside America (or to lowwaged¶ immigrants in America), the American middle and working classes were to inherit the world’s professional, knowledge-economy jobs. America, along with other¶ rich nations, would become a ‘‘magnet economy,’’ pulling in high-wage, high-skill¶ work from all over the globe (Brown and Lauder 2006). This vision was spelled out¶ most clearly in former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s (1991) The work of nations.¶ ‘‘In principle,’’ wrote Reich (1991, 247), ‘‘all of America’s routine production workers¶ could become symbolic analysts and let their old jobs drift overseas to developing¶ nations.’’ Rather than fight the erosion of the welfare state, high-wage public-sector and manufacturing employment, and the labor unions that had helped create these, American workers were to look to the promise of higher education, high skill and their own innate talent instead. ‘‘American workers are angry,’’ says economist Steve¶ Pitts, ‘‘because they were told to accept the loss of blue-collar manufacturing jobs because these jobs will be replaced by better white-collar service jobs . . . Now those jobs are being lost as well’’ (quoted in Reddy 2004).

Link—Labor Forces

Immigration policy is influenced and fueled by global neoliberalism.

Tannock ’09 (Stuart, 9-1-13, “White-collar imperialisms: the H-1B debate in America,” Social Semiotics 19: 3, 313-315, J.C)
During the intense debate that raged over whether or not to expand H-1B numbers in the 1990s, arguments focused explicitly on claims of labor shortages in the national economy. The lack of skilled workers available domestically in the vital IT sector, H-1B proponents claimed, was not just harmful to IT employers but threatened to slow down overall economic expansion. Foreign workers had to be brought into the country to perform this essential work. Opponents of the H-1B program focused on challenging these claims of labor shortage and insisted that plenty of skilled citizens were available to work, if employers would only give them a chance, a decent wage and a small amount of on-the-job training (Freeman and Hill 2006; Watts 2001). As Kamat, Mir, and Mathew (2004, 17) suggest, claims that the H-1B program was a ‘‘temporary measure, designed to alleviate short-term labour shortages while appropriate local labour was being trained and developed,’’ provided politically expedient cover at the time for what was actually a longer-term project of opening up the US high-skill labor market to global competition. In hindsight, it seems clear that these debates were part of the opening salvos of the latest stage of neo-liberal reform: in the wake of globalizing capital, trade and production, business and political elites across the world now seek to liberalize the global movement of skilled labor, and create a truly global labor market. After a brief cooling-off period that followed the collapse of the Dot-Com bubble in 20002002, and the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center in 2001 (in the wake of which, all talk of immigration matters was put on hold in the United States), concern over the H-1B visa program heated up once more in 20062007 (see, for example, Thibodeau 2007). In this second round of the H-1B debate, however, the terms of the argument were subtly shifted. No longer was the premise simply about opening doors on a throttled national labor market, but rather working to capture the full benefits of an already open and globalized labor market and higher education system. To understand this shift, we need to put the H- 1B debate in the context of two fundamental transformations in national and global political economy that have occurred since the H-1B was first created in the Immigration Act of 1990. First, there was the dramatic internationalization of higher education and the high-skill labor market in the United States, especially in the fields of science and engineering: the proportion of foreign-born PhD recipients from US universities in science and engineering increased from 23% in 1966 to 39% in 2000 (Freeman 2005); by 2005, the foreign-born were earning over 63% of US engineering PhDs (Matthews 2007); among science, technology, engineering and mathematics post-doctoral scholars, the share of temporary residents rose from 37% in 1982 to 59% in 2002 (National Research Council 2005); the percentage of scientists and engineers with PhDs in the United States who were foreign-born increased from 24% in 1980 to 37% in 2000 (Wulf 2005). Nearly 60% of the growth in the US science and engineering workforce in the 1990s came from the foreignborn (Freeman 2005). This internationalization was driven, in part, by a second fundamental shift over the course of the 1990s: the rise of a global war for talent (Kuptsch and Fong 2006). Nation-states around the world have increasingly opened their borders to highly skilled immigrants, and have actively sought to recruit high-level professional and managerial workers and students from overseas (OECD 2006). This war for talent is driven in large part by the United States: US think-tanks and ideologues are at the forefront of trumpeting the benefits of liberalizing the global movement of high-skill labor; and US immigration policy reforms such as the 1990 creation of the H-1B visa itself have become models for other countries to imitate. Further, the United States is the world’s number-one talent magnet: with just 5% of the world’s population, it attracts about one-half of the college-educated migrants who come to the rich OECD countries (its closest competitor, Canada, pulls in 13% of these immigrants) (Docquier and Marfouk 2005, 168). To be economically competitive in the global economy, business and political elites now argue, it is imperative to recruit the world’s most talented individuals, from wherever they come. Since other nations are also competing for these same workers (as well as for one’s own set of domestic skilled workers), nations must continually adjust their immigration, education, economic and social policy to make themselves more welcoming and appealing to them. The global war for talent puts into play a game of perpetual one-upmanship, in which political and business leaders of all nations insist they have no choice but to compete (Florida 2005; Shachar 2006; Wooldridge 2006)

Current immigration policy perpetuates exploitation of migrant workers by business owners.

Tannock ’09 (Stuart, 9-1-13, “White-collar imperialisms: the H-1B debate in America,” Social Semiotics 19: 3, 313-315, J.C)
This critique is essential, as even the government’s own Accountability Office points to flaws and loopholes in the H-1B program that allow employers to violate the program’s ostensible protection of labor standards (Government Accountability Office 2003, 2006). But this critique of exploitation tends to fall short as an effective analysis and response to the increasingly globalized high-skill US labor market on two counts. First, the critique is too narrow. The goal of a globalized labor market for high-skill workers is, indeed, very often quite explicitly about reaping cost savings that come from reducing wages (Bloomberg News 2007; Winters et al. 2002; World Bank 2003). But it is about far more than just this. The core principle at stake in global talent war/global meritocracy discourse is the absolute prerogative of employers to hire whoever they want whenever they want, based solely on business need, fully liberated from the kinds of public good expectations that have been most operationalized at the nation-state level (e.g. the expectation that employers bear some of the cost of the public education and vocational training of their workforce, or that they give opportunity to individuals from disadvantaged social backgrounds, etc.). H-1B visas may often be used at the bottom ends of the high-skill labor market; but they are used at the upper levels as well (Mir, Mathew, and Mir 2000). Control (or liberation from state and public control), not cost, is the fundamental issue. The second limitation of the exploitation critique of the H-1B visa program is that it is used most often by labor commentators in the United States as an excuse to exclude and banish, rather than organize H-1B workers (Chakravartty 2006b). While the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFLCIO) and other American labor organizations have come to see the exploitation of low-skilled immigrant workers as a reason to reach out to these workers and include them in their organizing efforts, this has distinctly not been the case with high-skilled immigrant workers on H-1B and other work visas (AFL-CIO 2003; Freeman and Hill 2006; Lal 2003). To explain this difference, it is necessary to look at how the H- 1B debate fits into the articulation of imperialist self-interest on the part of the US state, capital and labor

The paradigm of suspicion immobilizes immigrants and the impoverished, viewing them only as a source of cheap labor

Shamir 05 (Ronen, Professor of Sociology at Tel-Aviv University, 2005 “Without Borders? Notes on Globalization as a Mobility Regime,” Sociological Theory 23.2 http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a38a1096-53e7-4f5d-8fb2-678c41fae19b%40sessionmgr10&vid=4&hid=26)
However, suspect states are often also prime hosts of refugees and of increasing numbers of displaced groups who are concentrated in refugee camps and shanty towns. Refugees and internally displaced people are therefore often doubly immobilized, coerced into designated and stigmatized areas, and located at the very bottom of the social mobility hierarchy of an already suspect country. The overwhelming majority of refugees and internally displaced people reside in impoverished countries at the global periphery, as refugees typically flow in from other impoverished and warstricken suspect countries. Asia hosts half of the world’s refugees, Africa 22 percent, Europe 21 percent, and 10 percent are located in South and North America. Among the leading host countries of refugees in the world are Pakistan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Armenia. Iran was until recently the world’s number one host of refugees, hosting nearly 2 million Afghan people.10 Moreover, the population of suspect countries as a whole tends to be located at the lower end of the mobility gap. In general, its mobility constraints reflect lack of access to the resources required for mobility (e.g., money, information, and travel documents) and, moreover, this population often serves as a source of cheap labor, directly and indirectly catering to the needs of multinational corporations. From this perspective, the hyper-ghettoes of suspect countries look closer, in terms of Wacquant’s analytic terms, to the ghetto end of the continuum. Typically, most attention has been given to the increasing difficulties of residents of suspect countries to obtain immigration permits and political asylum. Yet not less indicative for sorting out the elementary forms of the mobility regime, when it comes to the effective constitution of stigmatized suspect countries and stigmatized suspect populations, is the fact that the ability to leave them is increasingly difficult for nonimmigrants as well. Holding a Turkish or a Russian or a Nigerian passport does not so much indicate one’s identity as a bearer of rights as much as it marks one as a potential unwanted immigrant. Accordingly, the mobility regime is increasingly based on limiting the travel opportunities of such citizens en masse, putting enormous difficulties on the ability to get ordinary tourist visas, often using basic tactics such as long waits, high application fees, and a variety of bureaucratic hurdles.11

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