The domestic violence experienced by Mexican immigrant women needs to be understood within a larger context of structural violence, which includes criminal and state violence aggravated by their unprotected status in the United States as “immigrant aliens.” Transborder violence refers to forms of violence that cross multiple national, regional, class, ethnic, and state boundaries. This article uses one case of what lawyers call gender-based asylum to demonstrate how structures of transborder violence entrap women. This case represents the kinds of cases I have worked with as an expert witness. What anthropologists learn as expert witnesses provides important information about broader patterns of gendered violence that need to be documented and analyzed. This article is framed by an understanding of the borderlands, including not only the geographic United States-Mexico border but also the broader reach of transborder communities and networks, which span the United States and Mexico. In connecting the transnational drug economy, (para) militarization, domestic, and other forms of gendered violence, it illuminates the broader political, social, and economic context within which the potential and actual killing of individual women and gendered violence continues to occur.

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