PJAS 14 Spring-4

Ewelina Bańka
Walking with the Invisible: The Politics of Border Crossing in Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway: A True Story
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 14 (Spring 2020), pp. 59-69

Abstract: The article focuses on Luis Alberto Urrea’s non-fiction book The Devil’s Highway: A True Story (2004) as a critique of the politics of border crossing and of the mechanisms of state power that shape the contemporary anti-immigration discourse. Drawing on diverse sources, the writer reconstructs the story of twenty-six Mexican men who in May 2001 attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at one of its deadliest stretches – The Devil’s Highway. Documenting the story of the “undocumented,” Urrea reveals the forces that render the migrants alienated, racially stigmatized, criminalized, and dehumanized. The writer also points out that the current political debate on illegal immigration essentially pre-empts the need for a discussion that would focus on the human conditions that trigger migration rather than on the illegality of border crossing. Thus, the book reconstructs the tragic incident at the border that not only shows how the story was controlled and narrated by the entities of power but, more importantly, how it was experienced by the walkers.

Keywords: U.S.-Mexico border, border crossing, illegal alien, immigration, Luis Alberto Urrea

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.14/1/2020.04

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