Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism

By Bavery, Ashley Johnson | Labour/Le Travail, Fall 2017 | Go to article overview

Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism


Bavery, Ashley Johnson, Labour/Le Travail


Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism (New York: New York University Press 2015)

WITH A RECORD 400,000 deportations in 2012, United States President Barack Obama earned the title, Deporter-in-Chief. Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, however, argues that mass deportation cannot be credited to one administration. Instead, she demonstrates that the process of border policing has been "intimately tied to the worldwide movement of people and goods" and has evolved as a natural product of "global capitalism, neoliberalism, and racialized social control." (ix) Golash-Boza grounds her analysis with the voices and stories of the migrants themselves, helping demonstrate how Dominicans, Jamaicans, Guatemalans, and Brazilians came to the United States and became caught in a web of exploitation, policing, and incarceration that stripped them of rights and access to the law. Deported demonstrates how certain migrants became crucial cogs in a neoliberal machine established to perpetuate individualist labour practices. Ultimately, the book offers an excellent glimpse into the lives of a group who are important to America's economy, yet face uncertain job prospects and the daily threat of incarceration and deportation.

Golash-Boza's conclusions are based on 147 interviews of deportees conducted from 2009 to 2010, giving the book a timely and intimate examination of global migration. Migrants were interviewed in their home nations of Jamaica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil, ensuring a transnational approach, and the book focuses on several core themes. Golash-Boza examines how migrants entered the United States and became Americanized, how many got entangled in drug wars and consequently were caught by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and police officers, were jailed, and sent to their home nations. Her final chapters focus on how deportees fare in their Latin American home nations, where many became stigmatized by their deportations. But large numbers of deportees, she argues, have become crucial components in an increasingly globalized economy. Many returned migrants use the language and technical skills along with their cultural acumen to work in call centres and American enterprises abroad. Thus, migration and deportation provides informal and inexpensive training to major global enterprises.

Golash-Boza's source base allows her to uncover the voices of deportees, but it also creates constraints on the work. The sample of 147 interviews forces Golash-Boza to make generalizations about national groups and migration patterns based on several individuals. Her reliance on outside literature, statistical analysis, and census data, however, helps mitigate this source issue. By focusing on particular interviewees, she is able to breathe life into a field that has been dominated by numbers and data, emphasizing the different needs between migrants according to their class and national background. Her analysis deftly demonstrates the difference between middle-class Dominican refugees fleeing the end of Trujillo's regime and poorer migrants, emphasizing that both groups made remittances crucial to the development of the Dominican Republic's struggling economy. Her interviews also uncover how border crossings worked, profiling Guatemalans who had to approach all of Mexico as a border and Brazilians who faced a trek across South and Central America before reaching their destination. …

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