• Bare life in an immigration jail: technologies of surveillance in U.S. pre-deportation detention

      Radziwinowiczówna, Agnieszka (Taylor & Francis, 2020-08-29)
      Migration policies globally are characterised by a growth in the use of detention. These dynamics have also been noted in the United States of America, where, increasingly, the private immigration detention infrastructure is the most developed in the world. Like other total institutions, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities depend on controlling human bodies. This article, which explains how nation-state sovereignty is created by means of surveillance technologies, draws upon the narratives of 26 Mexicans, deported under the administrations of Presidents Bush and Obama and interviewed in four waves of research between 2012 and 2019 in their hometown. The article describes the lived experience of biopolitical interventions on detainees’ bodies and explains the disciplining role of restricting or limiting access to ICTs. The article uses Agamben’s notion of bare life. It describes how biopolitical interventions and disciplines dehumanise precarious migrants and contribute to their governmentality long after their deportation when they abstain from re-entering the United States. The article complicates the notion of bare life by demonstrating that the use of biometrics (fingerprints) not only dehumanises people but also identifies their bodies and thus rehumanise them.