Socially Undocumented: Identity and Imigration Justice

ISBN : 9780190619800

Amy Reed-Sandoval
272 Pages
140 x 140 mm
Pub date
Nov 2019
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What does it really mean to be "undocumented," particularly in the contemporary United States? Political philosophers, immigration policy makers, and others have tended to define the term "undocumented migrant" legalistically-that is, in terms of lacking legal authorization to live and work in one's current country of residence. In Socially Undocumented, Reed-Sandoval challenges this "legalistic understanding" by arguing that being socially undocumented is to possess a real, visible, and embodied social identity that does not always track one's legal status. She further argues that achieving immigration justice in the U.S. (and elsewhere) requires a philosophical understanding of the racialized, class-based, and gendered components of socially undocumented identity and oppression. Socially Undocumented offers a new vision of immigration justice by integrating a descriptive and phenomenological account of socially undocumented identity with a normative and political account of how the oppression with which it is associated ought to be dealt with as a matter of social justice. It also addresses concrete ethical challenges such as the question of whether open borders are morally required, the militarization of the Mexico-U.S. border, the perilous journey that many migrants undertake to get to the United States, the difficult experiences of the women who cross U.S. borders seeking prenatal care while pregnant, and more.


Introduction: Socially Undocumented: Identity and Immigration Justice
Chapter 1: Socially, Not Legally, Undocumented
Chapter 2: On Social Identity
Chapter 3: Socially Undocumented Embodiment
Chapter 4: Pregnant and Socially Undocumented
Chapter 5: Socially Undocumented Horizons
Chapter 6: Rethinking Open Borders
Chapter 7: The Injustice of the Migrant Journey to the United States
Conclusion: A New Approach to Immigration Justice

About the author: 

Amy Reed-Sandoval is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research focuses on themes in political philosophy, Latin American and Latinx philosophy, feminist philosophy, and bioethics. She is the founding director of the Oaxaca Philosophy for Children Initiative in Oaxaca City, Mexico, and the Philosophy for Children in the Borderlands program in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

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