Facing Ghosts, God and Nature: Affect, Naturalization and the No Más Cruces Border Campaign

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | Broadcast and Video Studies | Chicana/o Studies | Communication | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latina/o Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Chapter Description:
“Terence Check and Christine Jasken analyze the use of appeals to fear and religious imagery in the US Customs and Border Protection Agency’s 2004 public service campaign “No Más Cruces en la Frontera” (No More Crossing the Border/No More Cemetery Crosses on the Border). Focusing on three television advertisements depicting the dangers of border crossing, they demonstrate how certain enthymematic appeals not only empower the viewer as a co-creator of his or her own persuasion but invest the texts with divine authority: the border is deadly, and those who have died extend their caution from the grave; God disapproves of border crossings, and those who defy his will suffer the brutality of the nature (desert, heat, cold, wildlife, etc.) that he has put in place. Check and Jasken propose that the campaign, via Burkean scapegoating, places the blame for the deaths of thousands of Mexican migrants on the migrants themselves, who choose a risky and God-defying venture; this scapegoating rhetorically absolves US border authorities, policymakers, and citizens.” –from the Introduction

Book Description:
In the current geopolitical climate—in which unaccompanied children cross the border in record numbers, and debates on the topic swing violently from pole to pole—the subject of immigration demands innovative inquiry. In The Rhetorics of US Immigration, scholars in immigration studies come together to discuss the many facets of immigration rhetoric in the United States. The Rhetorics of US Immigration provides readers with an integrated sense of the rhetorical multiplicity circulating among and about immigrants. Whereas extant literature on immigration rhetoric tends to focus on the media, this work extends the conversation to the immigrants themselves, among others. A collection whose own eclecticism highlights the complexity of the issue, The Rhetorics of US Immigration is not only a study in the language of immigration but also a frank discussion of who is doing the talking and what it means for the future. From questions of activism, authority, and citizenship to the influence of Hollywood, the LGBTQ community, and the church, The Rhetorics of US Immigration considers the myriad venues in which the American immigration question emerges—and the interpretive framework suited to account for it.