Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Frank Hutchins

Second Advisor

Dr. Lee Remington


The same nation that champions itself as a cultural “melting pot” is the very same that allows thousands of migrant bodies to rot in the heat of the United States-Mexico borderlands. It is through the sociopolitical debasement of immigrants to “bare life bodies” that thousands are made invisible and erased through their deaths, with little recognition or accountability taken on behalf of government institutions. Hiding behind the conveniently harsh desert terrain to mask any sense of culpability, the United States government exercises a sort of invisible hand over immigrant lives that is reinforced through harmful policy, Border Patrol’s “bare life” surveillance, and even armed civilian militias at the border. This ethnographic study of invisibility and erasure as it pertains to immigrant populations exposes how power and politics intersect to make certain groups invisible. What follows is an analysis of immigrant deaths in the borderlands through the binary of invisibility/visibility. This (in)visibility is constructed and navigated by immigrant activists, artists, medical examiners, Border Patrol agents, and humanitarian organizations, exposing the “necroviolence” inflicted upon undocumented border crossers—a population that is left by sovereign nations to die, decay, and disappear.

Available for download on Friday, May 03, 2024