Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationArizona State U.
Grant numberGr. 9796
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleSoto, Gabriella, Arizona State U. "The Contradictions of In/security: Rescue Beacons in the South Texas Borderlands"
This proposed project draws on new efforts by a local humanitarian NGO in south Texas with plans to prevent migrant deaths and save lives by replicating the rescue beacon infrastructure of U.S. border enforcement. The NGO’s rescue beacons are to be constructed in remote corridors where large numbers of undocumented migrants die while clandestinely en route into the United States. This action and point of overlap opens a unique window for a critical comparative investigation of what it means for an NGO to take on responsibilities of a state in a national security landscape when those being rescued are also pursued by the state agents as criminal aliens, and as the state itself organizes humanitarian rescue even as it is implicated in creating the conditions from which rescue is required. The complicated morality politics at play in humanitarian action connect to the necessity and possibility of action under conditions of perceived emergency and the dispute over what constitutes an emergency or even human rights in security contexts. I ask why and how the ostensibly aligned humanitarian actions will function on the ground level to reinforce, disrupt or complicate border security.