Racialized and Gendered Mass Deportation and the Crisis of Capitalism


  • Tanya Golash-Boza University of California, Merced




By the time President Obama leaves the Oval Office there will have been 3 million deportations from the United States during his eight years in office.  This sum is 50 percent more than the total number of all deportations prior to 1997, and far more than any previous U.S. president.  I argue in this essay that the confluence of four factors in recent years has created the conditions for mass deportation from the United States: (1) nearly all deportees are Latin American and Caribbean men; (2) the rise of a politics of fear in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; (3) the global financial crisis; and (4) the potential that mass deportation creates for corporate profit-making.  I place this argument in the larger context of race and ethnicity in the capitalist world-system.

Author Biography

Tanya Golash-Boza, University of California, Merced

Associate Professor of Sociology


Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: New Press.

Anderson, Bridget, Matthew J. Gibney, and Emanuela Paoletti. 2013. The Social, Political, and Historical Contours of Deportation. New York: Springer.

Armenta, Amada. 2012. “From Sheriff’s Deputies to Immigration Officers: Screening Immigrant Status in a Tennessee Jail.” Law and Policy 34(2): 191-210

Bloch, Alice, and Liza Schuster. 2005. “At the Extremes of Exclusion: Deportation, Detention and Dispersal.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(3): 491–512.

Boehme, Eric. 2011. “Recession and the Risks of Illegality: Governing the Undocumented in the United States.” New Political Science 33(4): 541–554.

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2006. Racism without Racists Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, MD.

Bosworth, Mary. 2011. “Deportation, Detention and Foreign-national Prisoners in England and Wales.” Citizenship Studies 15(5): 583–595.

Brotherton, David, and Luis Barrios. 2011. Banished to the Homeland: Dominican Deportees and Their Stories of Exile. New York: Columbia University Press.

Coleman, Matthew. 2012. “The “Local” Migration State: The Site-Specific Devolution of Immigration Enforcement in the U.S. South.” Law and Policy 34(2): 159-190

Collyer, Michael. 2012. “Deportation and the Micropolitics of Exclusion: The Rise of Removals from the UK to Sri Lanka.” Geopolitics 17(2): 276–292.

Coutin, Susan B. 2010. “Confined Within: National Territories as Zones of Confinement.” Political Geography, 29(4): 200-208.

De Genova, Nicholas. 2005. Working the Boundaries: Race, Space, and “Illegality” in Mexican Chicago. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Fragomen, Austin T. 1997. “The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996: An Overview.” International Migration Review, 31(2): 438-460.

Gibney, Matthew J. 2008. “Asylum and the Expansion of Deportation in the United Kingdom.” Government and Opposition 43(2): 146–167.

Gilmore, Ruth. 2007. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Golash-Boza, Tanya. 2012. Immigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-911 America. Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm.

Golash-Boza, Tanya, and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo. 2013. “Latino Immigrant Men and the Deportation Crisis: A Gendered Racial Removal Program.” Latino Studies 11(3): 271-292.

Golash-Boza, Tanya. 2015. Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor and Global Capitalism New York University Press: New York.

Gonzales, Alberto. 2013. Reform without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hagan, Jacqueline, Karl Eschbach, and Nestor Rodriguez. 2008. “U.S. Deportation Policy, Family Separation, and Circular Migration.” International Migration Review, 42(1): 62-88.

Harvey, David. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Headley, Bernard, Michael Gordon, and Andrew MacIntosh. 2005. Deported: Entry and Exit Findings. Jamaica: Stephenson Litho Press.

Hernández, David Manuel. 2008. "Pursuant to deportation: Latinos and immigrant detention." Latino Studies 6.1: 35-63.

Kanstroom, Daniel. 2007. Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kanstroom, Daniel. 2012. Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora. New York: Oxford University Press.

King, Ryan D., Michael Massoglia, and Christopher Uggen. 2012. “Employment and Exile: U.S. Criminal Deportations, 1908–2005.” American Journal of Sociology 117: 1786–1825.

Kodras, J.E. 1997. The changing map of American poverty in an era of economic restructuring and political realignment. Economic Geography 72, 67-93

Kretsedemas, Philip. 2012. The Immigration Crucible: Transforming Race, Nation and the Limits of the Law. New York: Columbia University Press.

Louie, Miriam. 2001. Sweatshop Warriors. Boston: South End Press.

Massey, Douglas, Jorge Durand, and Nolan J. Malone. 2002. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

National Research Council. 2014. “The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences.” Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Accessed September 15, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.vtlex.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/18613.pdf.

Nopper, Tamara. 2008. Why Black Immigrants Matter: Refocusing the Discussion on Racism and Immigration Enforcement. Keeping out the other: A critical introduction to immigration enforcement today. New York: Columbia University Press.

Robinson, William I. 2012. "Global capitalism theory and the emergence of transnational elites." Critical Sociology 38.3 : 349-363.

Robinson, William I. 2014. Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Safa, Helen I. 1995. "Economic restructuring and gender subordination." Latin American Perspectives 32-50.

Sanderson, Matthew and Jeffrey Kentor. 2008. “Foreign Direct Investment and International Migration: A Cross-National Analysis of Less-Developed Countries, 1985-2000.” International Sociology, 23(4): 514-539.

Sanderson, Matthew R. 2014. “Networks of Capital, Networks for Migration: Political–Economic Integration and the Changing Geography of Mexico–US Migration.” Global Networks 14(1): 23–43.

Sassen, Saskia. 1989. “America's ‘Immigration Problem.’ ” World Policy 6(Fall): 811–832.

Sassen, Saskia. 2014. Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Harvard University Press.

Singer, Audrey. 2012. Investing in the Human Capital of Immigrants: Strengthening Regional Economies. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. Accessed October 20, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/09/20-immigrants-human-capital-singer.

Siulc, Nina. 2009 Unwelcome citizens, criminalized migrants, and the quest for freedom: Deportees in the Dominican Republic. New York University, PhD Dissertation, Anthropology.

Stumpf, Juliet. 2006. “The Crimmigration Crisis: Immigrants, Crime, and Sovereign Power.” American University Law Review, 56:367.

Wacquant, Loic. 2001. “Deadly Symbiosis: When Ghetto and Prison Meet and Mesh.” Punishment and Society, 3(1): 95-133

Wacquant, Loïc. 2009. Punishing the poor: The neoliberal government of social insecurity. Duke University Press: Durham, NC.

Western, Bruce. 2006. Punishment and Inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Wilson, William J. 1996. “When Work Disappears.” Political Science Quarterly, 111(4): 567-595.

Zilberg, Elana. 2004. “Fools Banished From the Kingdom: Remapping Geographies of Gang Violence Between the Americas (Los Angeles and San Salvador).” American Quarterly, 56(3): 759-779.




How to Cite

Golash-Boza, T. (2016). Racialized and Gendered Mass Deportation and the Crisis of Capitalism. Journal of World-Systems Research, 22(1), 38–44. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2016.610



Symposium: Race in the Capitalist World-System