Streamlined Deportation: “No One Here in This Room Can Help You”

The US is breaking deportation records, despite cost overruns, judicial inefficiency, due process and human rights violations and a Democrat in the White House. Will four more years of Obama change the immigration system built to jail or deport first, ask questions never?





One thought on “Streamlined Deportation: “No One Here in This Room Can Help You”

  1. ZC

    Streamline is a mechanism of white supremacy that attempts to claim legitimacy of land and bodies. I’ve been thinking a lot about citizenship, legitimacy, and law in relation to white supremacy–that white supremacy has created these concepts and maintained them through the construction of “illegitimacy,” “illegality,” and “criminal.” Operation Streamline is a process that labels immigrants as the latter. According to this article, “Streamline disproportionately targets people with no criminal history” and makes re-entry a criminal charge. Of course, we know that Streamline is extremely racialized and that specific immigrant communities are being affected because of SB 1070 style institutionalized racial profiling. In the article, Hannan says, “they are not doing Streamline on anyone else but Mexican citizens. It is shocking and it is appalling and it is disgusting. Underlying it is xenophobia and racism and disregard of rights of people that fit a general description.” It is clear that our white supremacist state uses race ideology to create the boundaries of “citizenship,” denying the history of places like Tucson, which have always been occupied by people of color (indigenous, Mexican, Mexican American). This is the criminalization of migration, of dissent, and of people of color to legitimate an illegitimate state.

    I am always baffled at the lack of dimension in immigration-related processes, procedures, policy, etc. As tax-payer dollars in the U.S. are drained (since 2008, detaining just Tucson’s migrants cost $52.5 million), the uneven geographical impacts are HUGE. “Infamous for violence, border cities like Tamaulipas and Juarez have been fundamentally altered in Streamline’s wake.” In the isolated courtrooms the judge says, “I wish you the best of luck, but there is no one in this room that can help you,”” and hegemonic systems of law reproduce the common sense logic that “there is no alternative.”

    “I would call it an infection,” Hannan said. “It’s already infected the system.”

    I disagree with Hannan. I think Streamline is just another articulation of a system that itself is the infection. Streamline is one example of the many limbs of our white supremacist state maintaining “control.” Yesterday, in his talk, Klee Benally spoke about “rights” vs. “freedoms” and the invisibilization of native peoples. I want to begin to articulate how a critique of streamline might form if we begin to look towards freedoms and towards the Tohono O’odham. How do indigenous and immigrant realities share narratives of forced relocation, but fights for the freedoms of movement and migration? Although I’ve only touched upon a little, this response leads me with a desire for situating streamline in a deeper history and context and questions of what people are doing to resist it.


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