Today we are facing a frightening and sobering reality regarding Latina/o/x politics: one where Latina/o/x immigrants, residents, and citizens alike have become the targets of increased derision, detention, and racialized violence. Under the current administration, immigration politics in particular have been reorganized into a highly restrictive regime where scrutiny of immigrant lives, limitations on admission, asylum, mobility, employment, access to public services, and increased detention and deportations, have become “the new normal.” The current administration regularly trades on racialized and gendered discourse to consolidate a masculine nationalist identity, stoke anxiety of non-white foreigners, and mobilize white voters. Latina/o/x immigrants bear the brunt of these restrictions having been terrorized under this new regime while routinely construed as racialized threats and, in the most extreme cases, as terrorists themselves.
However, Latinas/os/xs also inherit a long history of resilience and resistance in the face of unimaginable sadness and the current context bears witness to that endurance. From the undaunted mobilization of undocumented/DACAmented students, through the proliferation of sanctuary jurisdictions and rapid response networks, to the mobilization of Latina/o/x candidates and voters in countless electoral coalitions – this is both a season of pain and a moment of reckoning. Borrowing from critical intersectional analysis this lecture examines the challenges of contemporary Latina/o/x politics drawing lessons of meaning in the face of increased vulnerability and renewal in the face of violence.
Anna Sampaio is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Political Science, and Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at Santa Clara University, with specializations in immigration, Latina/o/x politics, race and gender politics, intersectionality, and transnationalism.