“Terrorizing Latina/o Immigrants”

Photo via Temple University

RGM Extra Credit

Last Friday, I had the insightful experience of listening to Dr. Anna Sampaio, a professor of ethnic studies at Santa Clara University, discuss her book “Terrorizing Latina/o Immigrants: Race, Gender, and Immigration Politics in the Age of Security.”

Dr. Sampaio describes this time as an “exhausting and relentless time.” In regards to the 2016 elections and Trump presidency, Latina/o citizens in America, whether American-born or not, are facing heightened discrimination and exclusion. Trump’s campaign largely influenced this through rhetoric that appealed to white voters and creating fears aimed towards Latinas/os by  making them seem as threats to national security.

Dr. Sampaio explained how immigration politics and practices have changed in the last 30 years, especially post 9/11. She mentions new federal and state immigration legislation and policy. The most important aftermath of this change is that it empowered local law enforcement to act as immigration agents. In addition to this policy change, there has been increased scrutiny and policing, increased detentions, and increased deportations. There have also been discursive shifts about Latinas/os during this election. Dr. Sampaio believes there is a “resurgence of security as a dominant narrative, tethered to racialized demonization, and the enemy target is demonized as foreign and threatening.” There’s also an increase in masculine protectionism.

The changes under Trump in regards to immigration are raids in at least twenty states, removal of the PEP standard, and ICE officers emboldened. Dr. Sampaio especially brings attentions to raids, past and contemporary. Raids commonly occur at airports, federally secured facilities, places of commercial employment, and residential neighborhoods. I found out that by 2007, raids had occurred at more than one hundred airports. Yet to my surprise, most of the people questioned were janitors or food service workers. After 2005, more women and children were apprehended and sexual abuse of immigrant women increased. With all said, it’s time we change the negative discourse surrounding immigrants. I found her presentation very explanatory and I believe her information is essential for everyone to be aware of.

Anna Sampaio is an Associate Professor with specializations in Latina/o politics, race and gender politics, critical race and gender theory, intersectionality, transnationalism, and immigration.



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