Heyman presents a very ambitious tour de force of an essay on a complex multiplicity of violence, direct and structural, faced by migrants and residents also in the case of Mexicans. This chapter seems to be shaped by the reality ofthe wide range of violence (direct and indirect) trauma – after horror and suffering that the region and many people have faced. This is violent border, one many of the word, with open violence from Mexico and hidden violence from the US. By violence he implies: both direct physical violence, including mental health and so-called structural violence. The border is here also an import symbol in enacting xenophobia and the most violence engendering processes are enacted in this region. In El Paso, along with the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the border as field of contention between state agencies (U.S. and Mexican) and voluntary humanitarians, another important domain of violence and suffering continues in the same space: the repressive drug war and small arms trade into Mexico. Homicides, disappearances, kidnappings, extortion, and physical and sexual assault are directed at Mexican-side border populations and migrants at extraordinary levels. While the logic of violence largely spares settled populations in the United States (though migrants in passage remain vulnerable), the total field of social life in the region is extensively subject to violence and victimization. The migration debates are well-publicized but the worlds of violence at the border are largely unremarked and normalized.
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