March 28, 2023
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$25.95 USD, £19.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference


The El Paso Massacre, Resurgent White Nationalism, and the US-Mexico Border

Documents the cruel immigration policies and treatment toward border crossers on the US-Mexico border.

On August 3, 2019, a far-right extremist committed a deadly mass shooting at a major shopping center in El Paso, Texas, a city on the border of the United States and Mexico. In Unsettling, Gilberto Rosas situates this devastating shooting as the latest unsettling consequence of our border crisis and currents of deeply rooted white nationalism embedded in the United States.

Tracing strict immigration policies and inhumane border treatment from the Clinton era through Democratic and Republican administrations alike, Rosas shows how the rhetoric around these policies helped lead to the Trump administration's brutal crackdown on migration—and the massacre in El Paso. Rosas draws on poignant stories and compelling testimonies from workers in immigrant justice organizations, federal public defenders, immigration attorneys, and human rights activists in order to document the cruelties and indignities inflicted on border crossers.

Borders, as sites of crossings and spaces long inhabited by marginalized populations, generate deep anxiety across much of the contemporary world. Rosas demonstrates how the Trump administration amplified and weaponized immigration and border policy, including family separation, torture, and murder. None of this dehumanization and violence was inevitable, however. The border zone in El Paso (which translates to "the Pass") was once a very different place, one marked by frequent and inconsequential crossings to and from both sides—and with more humane immigration policies, it could become that once again.

About the Author

Gilberto Rosas (CHAMPAIGN, IL) is an associate professor of anthropology and Latina/o studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Barrio Libre: Criminalizing States and Delinquent Refusals of the New Frontier.


"This book is excellent, chilling, and utterly compelling. Rosas's critique of the Trump administration's xenophobic and white nationalist discourse and 'zero tolerance' enforcement policies and the ways they ricochet is persuasive, as is his argument that there is a longer history of white nationalism in El Paso. Along with the gripping descriptions of events and processes, Rosas's analysis makes for an original contribution in which we see how the border has become a site of multiple violences."

- Patricia Zavella, University of California Santa Cruz, author of The Movement for Reproductive Justice: Empowering Women of Color through Social Activism

"Unsettling powerfully illustrates the cruelty of the immigration enforcement system on the US-Mexico border during the Trump administration. Dr. Rosas's personal connection to El Paso, to the border, and to the violence he documents is a major strength of a book as deeply emotional as it is intellectual."

- William D. Lopez, University of Michigan School of Public Health, author of Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid
Johns Hopkins University Press
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March 28, 2023
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