Neoliberalism confronts Latinos: Paradigmatic shifts in immigration practices


How has the proliferation of neoliberal ideas altered undocumented immigration policy? I argue three neoliberal principles – privatization, efficiency and personal responsibility – have impacted the implementation of American immigration policy, increasing the detention, abuse, and death of undocumented migrants. This change disproportionately affects Latinos, as they are more likely to either know an undocumented person, or be one themselves. Using an historical structural approach, this work problematizes the inevitability of privatization, discusses the influence of efficiency on the record number of deportations, and criticizes the principle of personal responsibility using the deaths of migrants at the border and in detention. This work is of special importance for Latinos as they disproportionately bear repression, abuse and death at the hands of a neoliberal immigration system.

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The author thanks Adalberto Aguirre, Rubén Martínez, Carlos Parodi, Maura Toro-Morn, Julie Webber and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.

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Silva, A. Neoliberalism confronts Latinos: Paradigmatic shifts in immigration practices. Lat Stud 14, 59–79 (2016).

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  • neoliberalism
  • Latinos
  • immigration
  • DACA
  • deportation
  • privatization