Migration and Mortality

Social Death, Dispossession, and Survival in the Americas

Edited by Jamie Longazel and Miranda Cady Hallett
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1978-1
Publication: Jun 21

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1977-4
Publication: Jun 21

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1979-8
Publication: Jun 21

318 pages
6 x 9
4 tables, 2 figures, 1 halftone

Documents and denounces the violent impacts of restrictive migration policies in the Americas, linking this institutional violence to broader forces of racial capitalism

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Death threatens migrants physically during perilous border crossings between Central and North America, but many also experience legal, social, and economic mortality. Rooted in histories of colonialism and conquest, exclusionary policies and practices deliberately take aim at racialized, dispossessed people in transit. Once in the new land, migrants endure a web of systems across every facet of their world—work, home, healthcare, culture, justice—that strips them of their personhood, denies them resources, and creates additional obstacles that deprive them of their ability to live fully.

As laws and policies create ripe conditions for the further extraction of money, resources, and labor power from the dispossessed, the contributors to this vibrant anthology, Migration and Mortality, examine restrictive immigration policies and the broader capitalist systems of exploitation and inequality while highlighting the power of migrants’ collective resistance and resilience.

The case studies in this timely collection explore border deaths, detention economies, asylum seeking, as well as the public health and mental health of migrants. Ultimately, these examples of oppression and survival contribute to understanding broader movements for life and justice in the Americas.

Contributors: Karina Alma, Anna M. Babel, Pil H. Chung, Deirdre Conlon, Nicholas De Genova, Alicia Ivonne Estrada, Amelia Frank-Vitale, Nancy Hiemstra, Nolan Kline, Shirley P. Leyro, Marianne Madoré, Linda A. McCauley, Nathan J. Mutic, Joseph Nevins, Juan M. Pedroza, Jared P. Van Ramshorst, Nicholas Rodrigo, Daniel L. Stageman, Abby C. Wheatley, and the editors


This poignant collection of essays clearly and boldly drives home the critical point that borders and migration policies lead to premature death and suffering, and, by doing so, carry on the long tradition of a country founded on settler colonialism, genocide, and enslavement. Using a broad range of voices from students to established scholars, the editors and contributors collectively detail the myriad ways U.S. migration policies constitute the worst of the intertwined systems of racism and capitalism. This powerful edited volume would be a great addition to classes on migration, human rights, globalization, social inequality, and race. Migration and Mortality should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand the role of border and migration policies in late capitalism.”
Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced, and author of Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism

“Migration and Mortality is a timely, thorough, and compelling volume. Its focus on ‘social death’ to capture a variety of experiences—some of which amount to suffering that translates into ‘slow death,’ while others encompass death more literally—is creative, novel, and needed. This book is a significant contribution to migration studies.”
Cecilia Menjívar, Dorothy L. Meier Chair in Social Equities and Professor of Sociology at UCLA, and coauthor of Immigrant Families

Table of Contents

Preface: Why Study Death?

Introduction: Murder It Remains / Miranda Cady Hallett and Jamie Longazel

I Haunted Humanitarianism
1. Death by Enclosure: Human Rights Organizations, Migrant Fatalities, and the Delimitation of the Global Commons / Joseph Nevins
2. Living and Dying in El Norte: The Framing of Maya Migration / Alicia Ivonne Estrada
3. Proprietors of Death: An Ethnography of the 2019 San Antonio Border Security Expo / Marianne Madoré and Nicholas Rodrigo

II Death and Dispossession
4. Anonymous Brown Bodies: The Productive Power of the Deadly U.S.-Mexico Border / Nicholas De Genova
5. Detention Economies: Commodifying Migrant Social Death / Deirdre Conlon and Nancy Hiemstra
6. Heat-Related Illness and Death among Migrant Farmworkers: Dispatches from the Girasoles Study / Nathan J. Mutic and Linda A. McCauley

III Epidemiologies of Living with Death
7. Morbidity and Mortality in Immigrant Narratives: A Public Health Perspective on State Violence, Social Exclusion, and Experiences of Harm among Deportable Immigrants / Daniel L. Stageman and Shirley P. Leyro
8. Death and Disabilities in Divergent Deportation Contexts: Revisiting the Hispanic Epidemiological Paradox / Juan M. Pedroza and Pil H. Chung
9. The Dead and Living Dead: Legal Violence and Undocumented Kidney Failure Patients in Atlanta, Georgia / Nolan Kline

IV Outsourced Suffering and Survival in the Americas
10. Expanding Exclusion: Migration, Asylum, and Transnational Death in Mexico and the United States / Jared P. Van Ramshorst
11. Better in Jail There than Dead Here: Deportation and (Social) Death in Honduras / Amelia Frank-Vitale
12. Miskitu Labor and Immigrant Struggles: U.S. Anti–Central American Policies of Social Death / Karina Alma
13. A Politics of Survival / Abby C. Wheatley
Epilogue: Death in Detention / Anna M. Babel, with Miranda Cady Hallett and Jamie Longazel


About the Author(s)

Jamie Longazel is an Associate Professor of Law and Society at John Jay College and is on the International Migration Studies faculty at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (Temple).

Miranda Cady Hallett is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Human Rights Center Research Fellow at the University of Dayton and has published extensively on El Salvador and Salvadoran migration to the United States.