Snapshots

Indigenous Autonomy and Immigration » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

A recent poster prepared by Michigan State University assistant professor and artist, Dylan Miner, asks that we “decolonize immigration through indigenous and migrant solidarity.” On seeing this beautiful artwork, I was compelled to once again reflect on the perverse nature of U.S. immigration law. The struggle to decolonize immigration law and policy challenges an unjust, racialized, and convoluted history, and reveals the highly problematic qualities of modern state sovereignty in the policing of borders across a region that remains a resurgent indigenous homeland.

I recall the sorrow and discrimination provoked by Arizona’s SB 1070 when numerous Native American elders were suspected of being “illegals” because they could not produce birth certificates to prove otherwise. Imagine that: natives seen as “illegals” and deemed subject to deportation under the state of exception for failure to provide documentation of their right to live on their native land. A deeper injustice and more banal contradiction is not possible, since the authors of 1070 arrived in Arizona but a mere night ago and are now dictating the legal status of peoples inhabiting the bioregion for tens of thousands of years.

This is what it means to be a stranger in your native land. This is what it means to be denied your indigeneity under the policing of borders and citizenship instigated by the telluric partisans who are allied with the fear-driven state of exception.

What the history of U.S. immigration policy reveals is that the politics and policies of white resentment and racialization were and continue to constitute a failed response born of the perception that Native peoples (including Mexicans) are a demographic and biopolitical threat: The difference we represent has had to be managed and eradicated precisely because of our continuously illustrated resilience and long-term “reproductive fitness.”

Of course, it is too late for that game despite the militarization of the border, criminalization of immigrants, and alienation (really self-estrangement) associated with the neoliberal trap of identity politics that has always accompanied the state of exception. This is the exact same fearful logic that drives the law seeking to render our collective wisdom and cultural traditions as forbidden knowledge in the attack on Chicana/o and Ethnic Studies in Arizona under the unconstitutional HB 2281.

FULL ARTICLE: Indigenous Autonomy and Immigration » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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