2010 was a significant year for immigration issues along the United States-Mexico border. In April, Arizona signed the most extreme law against undocumented immigrants. In August, 72 hopeful migrants were massacred in Tamaulipas by alleged drug traffickers, and the Arizona desert claimed a record 252 lives in fiscal year 2010. These events were part of the trend that began with border militarization in the mid-1990s and escalated in the wake of 9/11, resulting in the extremely violent character of the undocumented border crossing experience. This is manifest, not only in the frequent reports of abuses by various actors along the border, but also in the consolidation of undocumented migration with the trafficking of narcotics. The authors have documented many cases of robbery, kidnapping, physical abuse, rape, and manipulation by drug traffickers. In this article, we discuss these different manifestations of violence by understanding both the structural constraints that create and characterize violence, as well as the individual reactions to the factors. The authors propose the conceptualization of “post structural violence” as a manner of enhancing the discussion of agency within and as a reaction to the structural conditions generated by border security and immigration policy.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.