Beyond border health: Infrastructural violence and the health of border abolition
Source: Science Direct
Resource Type: Website or Webpage Article
Focus Population: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), People with Serious Mental Illness (SMI)
Topics: Culturally Specific Strengths and Resilience, MHSA, Program Funding
Most existing approaches to border health focus on identifying the social determinants that produce ill health and health disparities among migrants, including language barriers, documentation status, and trauma associated with migration. Attention to these kinds of problems can lead to policy and clinical changes that indeed help improve quantitatively measurable outcomes for patients. However, these approaches usually ignore the larger historical and political framework that determines the determinants – the underlying infrastructure of ill health, or what we term the infrastructural determinants of health. In this paper, we outline specific infrastructures involving race, political economy, history, and most importantly, borders themselves, that lay the foundations for border illness. We examine the plans, histories, policies, and peoples involved in building the conditions for migration, particularly out of the Northern Triangle, including forces of colonialism, US imperialism, neoliberalism, and border militarization. In place of a tacit acceptance of the modern system of borders, we argue for border abolition as a vital but underused treatment in the repertoire of medical intervention. Outlining the rights of people to stay and to move, and drawing on lessons from the prison abolition movement, we offer policies and practices towards a ‘no borders’ system that privileges liberatory solidarity with migrants by explicitly challenging global infrastructures that drive displacement. In doing so, we offer an emergent framework for a medical border abolition that treats both the causes and symptoms of a widespread global sickness.