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Volume 29 • Number 2

April 2015



At the Borders of Society: Border Control and the Perpetuation of Poverty among Immigrant Communities

by Theresa Beaumier

According to the U.S. census Bureau's 2013 American community Survey, approximately a quarter (24.8 percent) of Hispanics or latinos in the united States live in poverty, a percentage that may actually be significantly higher given underreporting among the undocumented portions of this population. This number is comparable to the 27.6 percent of US blacks reported to live in poverty, but is far greater than the 11.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites in poverty, indicating the greater tendency of people of color to live in poverty in the united States. Nevertheless, in addition to racialized barriers to economic opportunity, non-citizen latinos and other immigrant groups—especially those who are undocumented—face another barrier that is both literal and symbolic: the border that geographically demarcates US territory. The enforcement of this border, whereby those not granted legal legitimacy in this country are barred from physical entry, civic participation, and access to economic resources, perpetuates cycles of economic poverty and other mutually reinforcing negative social outcomes among already poor immigrant communities.

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ISSN: 2152-0542