American Sociological Association

An Architecture of Repulsion

In recent years, especially during the Trump administration, the U.S. news media have been saturated with daily stories about (mostly) Central Americans fleeing conditions of extreme violence and finding the door shut as they seek protection at the southern U.S. border. Presumably to deter “meritless” asylum claims, these asylum seekers are now being required to first apply for asylum in “safe third countries,” even if the countries that the administration in Washington has designated as “safe” are precisely those that people are fleeing from. Broadcast news has focused on the barrage of policy actions that incrementally add bars to asylum and continue to push the door (and the border) shut to those in need. Rights groups and an array of civil society organizations have been busy fighting such policy decisions in the streets and through the courts, actions that have temporarily halted the implementation of some of these policies. But, effectively, the U.S. asylum system has been suspended.


Cecilia Menjívar





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