From lynch mobs to the deportation state

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


This article explores the relationship between mob violence, immigration control, and the early twentieth-century US deportation regime. Scholars examining the decline of lynch violence in the South typically see modern criminal justice as a new incarnation of white, heteropatriarchal violence. But they have left the deportation apparatus, a conjoined element of a US carceral assemblage, unexamined. This article argues that modern border policing’s ostensibly bloodless removal absorbed anti-immigrant mob violence within its carceral-eliminatory system. As with the diminution of the Southern, anti-black lynch mob, invocations of legality in deportation proved better suited to the biopolitics of liberal capitalist modernity. Nevertheless, the deportation regime, bolstered by an extensive federal infrastructure, still targeted migrants of color, took aim against political radicals, and policed heteropatriarchy in its production of settler-colonial citizenship via the spatial elimination of so-called undesirable aliens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-384
Number of pages24
JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'From lynch mobs to the deportation state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this