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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes President Obama and his Administration’s construction of Central American migrants as a crisis. Based on a close reading of letters to Congress, governmental Fact Sheets, speeches, and other written documents of the administration, the chapter argues that the language that initially established violence against migrants as the crux of the crisis simultaneously erased the role of the United States in supporting the conditions that are expelling migrants from their homelands. The faulty logic during a purported moment of crisis, moreover, made it possible to propose family detention centers and ramped-up enforcement as the main solutions. Central American refugees, therefore, are left with only their bodies to resist and to draw attention to the true crises: US intervention and nation-states’ long-term unwillingness to enforce human rights protections in the region.

Keywords: Central American migration, refugees, Central American women and children, immigrant detention, family detention centers

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