Crises of Social Reproduction, Mutual Aid, and the Transformation of Place in the Aftermath of an Immigration Arrest
Keywords:Immigration, policing, dispossession, social reproduction, mutual aid, abolition
When a U.S. resident is arrested by immigration authorities, significant financial losses immediately begin to accumulate to themselves and to their immediate family. Drawing on a survey of 125 households in Pima County, AZ, this paper examines the scope of these financial losses; the strategies that household members deploy to absorb and manage these losses; and their downstream repercussions for those activities and infrastructures associated with everyday and generational household social reproduction. Attention to these issues foregrounds the collective dimensions of harm – e.g., how the destabilizing effects of arrest, detention and/or deportation are never experienced by any individual in isolation, but rather multiply across those persons and relationships of dependency, care and support to whom these individuals remain connected over time. Given the disproportionate concentration of U.S. immigration policing on communities of Latin American origin, these outcomes carry important implications for the articulation of everyday conditions of labor, inequality and accumulation under racial capitalism. At the same time, people respond to the disruption of relationships of home and family through new practices, relationships and institutions of mutual aid, solidarity and struggle. What results is movement: novel patterns of collective life that transform the very communities whose members the state is attempting to violently separate. By exploring this latter dynamic, the paper contributes to emerging literatures on carceral and abolition geographies, connecting everyday conditions of social reproduction and the production and circulation of value to a broader dialectic of community resistance against state violence and material dispossession.
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