The Price of Mobility

The Border Industrial Complex and the Role of Private Industry in Enforcing Migration Restrictions


  • Abigail Isaac University of Alberta



This research paper explores the origins of the border industrial complex, current American policies supported by private corporations regarding border infrastructure, and the impact of these policies on Central American asylum seekers. My investigation draws from critical border studies literature on the existence of borders as political tools as opposed to ‘neutral lines’ demarcating sovereignty, interrogating how border policies fuel the neoliberal economy. Given this background, I examine the commercialization of human mobility using border policies at the U.S.-Mexico border as a case study. The question at the core of my investigation is: to what extent does corporate investment in U.S-Mexico border militarization obstruct protection for Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States? In response, I argue that the issue of corporate involvement in U.S. border policy is important to examine because of how it impedes the implementation of progressive immigration policy by centering the border security market, and decentering human rights. More specifically, I contend that border violence as funded by corporate investment in state bordering becomes a way of maintaining racial hierarchy through movement and citizenship restrictions against racialized migrants from the Global South.






Social Sciences & Humanities