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The Cultural Politics of U.S. ImmigrationGender, Race, and Media$
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Leah Perry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479828777

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479828777.001.0001

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Inaugurating Neoliberal Crimmigration

Inaugurating Neoliberal Crimmigration

(p.137) 4 Inaugurating Neoliberal Crimmigration
The Cultural Politics of U.S. Immigration

Leah Perry

NYU Press

This chapter examines the criminalization of Latin American immigrants and Latina/os in media, policy debates, and law, and in relation to the prison-industrial system. In 1980s films, romanticized Italian American mafia families contrasted media alarm—the continuation of the “immigrant emergency”—over unmarried Latino gangbangers in films and television shows. This was largely accomplished by portraying Latina/o family and gender arrangements as dysfunctional deviations from “family values.” In martial arts films, Asian men were cast as exotic and often family-less crime fighters, again occupying a place between Latin American immigrants and Latinas/os and white ethnics. Focusing on increased border control and punitive immigration law that targeted undocumented immigrants and functioned increasingly like criminal law, as well as on racialized tropes of immigrant criminals in media, this chapter asserts that racially disparate discourses of immigrants and crime produced, justified, and negotiated racist and sexist social relations for neoliberalizing America.

Keywords:   immigration, neoliberal, crimmigration, undocumented immigration, immigration emergency, border, border patrol, Latina/os, criminalization

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