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Market spectacle: immigration policy along the US/Mexico border

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Purpose ‐ The central contribution of the paper aims to provide a new way of thinking and reflecting about using a more critical public policy approach as opposed to the heretofore dysfunctional dichotomist approach common to the immigration policy debate. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Using critical theoretical approaches primarily based on Debord and Agamben, the author compares and contrasts the approaches made by immigration reform policy advocates and opponents to obtain a better understanding of these complex issues and the motivations behind them. Findings ‐ Viewing the policy immigration and border policy discourse from the market spectacle lens allows the author to see the seemingly never-ending conflict to be fully disclosed. Corporate profit-seekers have used effectively the politics of fear surrounding the terrorist attacks of 9-11, the ongoing fear generated against undocumented border crossers along with the property takings of US citizens through the use of the complexities of the dominant market language in the name of the 9-11 and the subsequent War on Terror. The author's primary intention was to expose the motivations of public policy makers and place their policy decisions into a critical context. Originality/value ‐ In this original paper, the author analyzes events such as the border fence construction ‐ and the corporatist influence behind its development, the push to politically disenfranchise Latinos in Arizona, and the inability of the US Congress to pass legislation for meaningful immigration reform and border security ‐ that have all been subject to the limitations of language, symbols and images portrayed by protagonists and antagonists of market-driven immigration policy. The value of the paper is that the author demonstrates the problems and limitations on public policy.
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Keywords: Government policy; Marxist economics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 7, 2014

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