The state of confusion: Reflections on Central American asylum seekers in the Bay Area

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

19 Citas (Scopus)


This article explores the problematic assumptions at play in the asylum applications of Central American asylum seekers in northern California. I address the disjuncture between the legal parameters under which asylum is granted and the perceptions and knowledge about the process of all those involved. For 'undocumented' immigrants, claiming asylum establishes a formal relationship to the state, in which they must learn to reformulate their identity and memory to fit the legal definition of refugee. Poverty, marginality, lack of education, and fear, however, make the situation difficult to grasp. Uncertainty and confusion increase during the asylum interview, where officer's interpretations of the situation lead to essentialized notions of ethnicity, poverty, and violence. Ultimately, positive outcomes depend on applicants' ability to learn to navigate the process and access the categories established in a political economy of suffering. The power relations inherent in the application reflect the greater social framework of exclusion within which 'undocumented' subjects are positioned. Thus, for many, the asylum application ensures further misunderstandings and marginality, even if the claim is granted.

Idioma originalInglés estadounidense
Páginas (desde-hasta)35-60
Número de páginas26
EstadoPublicada - mar. 1 2008
Publicado de forma externa

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • Estudios culturales
  • Antropología
  • Arte y humanidades (miscelánea)


Profundice en los temas de investigación de 'The state of confusion: Reflections on Central American asylum seekers in the Bay Area'. En conjunto forman una huella única.

Citar esto