Daniel Goldstein, Rutgers University
As efforts intensify to police immigration in the name of creating national security, the locus of securitization has become the spaces within national borders, including states and local municipalities. The workplace, too, has been transformed into a site of immigration enforcement through the use of an electronic program called “E-Verify,” a biometric system that identifies those eligible to work legally in the United States. With this technology, immigration enforcement – more effectively than ever before – deputizes private sector employers as immigration police while it generates fear among the undocumented. E-Verify is a biopolitical tool for “soft” immigration enforcement that works in concert with “hard” geopolitical border control, to balance the competing political priorities of deporting the undocumented while maintaining a disciplined undocumented workforce in the United States. E-Verify screens out ineligible workers while neither detaining nor removing them from national space; it shapes consciousness and bodily praxis without providing the recognition that might convey rights or underwrite claims for citizenship or national belonging.
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