Illegal and Invisible

When we talked to the Syrian community partners, many of them discussed how living in Lebanon illegally was so hard because you were underpaid as an illegal immigrant without papers, and it was impossible to get any sort of health insurance or coverage so when Eva had her baby for instance, she said she had so spend an insane amount of money just to cover the hospital bills in order to safely have her child. In the “Migrant “Illegality” and Deportability in Everyday Life” article De Genova brings up another interesting point along these lines by saying that “the social space of “illegality” is an erasure of legal personhood-a space of forced invisibility, exclusion, subjugation, and repression that materializes around [the undocumented] wherever they go” which makes me interested to see if any of them feel this way as well, if besides feeling like a cheap scape-goat of the community wherever they’re living illegally, that they also feel this almost dehumanizing invisibility. Which also leads me to think about this inevitable paradox of escaping or having a successful “crossing” only to have gone, in the case of the young boys in the hills of morocco, from being a tight-knit brotherhood who literally goes out every day to die for each other, to having this “erasure of personhood.”

A few of the issues of illegality or as De Genova so fittingly calls them, the conditions of nonexistence: (from page 427)

  • immigration policies nullify the legal legitimacy of certain kinship ties
  • restricted physical mobility and social mobility – a measure of “captivity and social death”
  • in Carter’s words, “the revocability of the promise of the future,” or an enforced orientation to the present

Earlier in the piece De Genova also makes the quite conclusive statement that “Undocumented migrations are, as [he had] already suggested, preeminently labor migration” and therefore these migrants, preeminently cheap laborers (423). This made me think about the current issues of the Dream Act and Trump’s plans with them, De Genova brings up the effect on the economies of these places and even our Syrian community partners talked about how many people in Lebanon were mad about all the Syrians coming in and taking their jobs but the truth of the matter was that they were just willing to do work for so much less. It reminded me of the current issues that California is having with Trump wanting to crush the Dreamers program and how they are suing trump.

In the above article Xavier Becerra, the state’s attorney general responded to California’s decision to sue by saying “Our businesses and local governments would bear the expense of ending it,” acknowledging above all, the economic importance over their persons.