Political Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

COVID-19, asylum seekers, and migrants on the Mexico–U. S. border: Creating states of exception

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The COVID-19 pandemic illuminates possibilities for creating states of exception while simultaneously destabilizing the Mexico–U.S. border through the politics of fear. Specifically, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), Zero Tolerance Policy (ZTP), COVID-19 CAPIO, Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACA), and Title 42—using the pandemic under an arcane section of U.S. law to immediately expel asylum seekers and refugees, in particular—highlight the formation of a state of exception consistent with the work of Agamben. They also document how the politics of fear is used to reinforce hegemonic narratives targeting asylum seekers while attempting to reinforce political agendas that lean toward a specific brand of nationalism using the lens of public health as a context. The U.S. government under the Trump administration, and the Biden administration to a lesser extent, constructed these policies aimed primarily at refugees and asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, thereby violating laws and international treaty obligations.


© 2022 Policy Studies Organization.


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Politics & Policy