In his gripping and provocative debut, anthropologist Jason De Leon sheds light on one of the most pressing political issues of our time-the human consequences of US immigration policy. The Land of Open Graves reveals the suffering and deaths that occur daily in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona as thousands of undocumented migrants attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Drawing on the four major fields of anthropology, De Leon uses an innovative combination of ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and forensic science to produce a scathing critique of "Prevention through Deterrence," the federal border enforcement policy that encourages migrants to cross in areas characterized by extreme environmental conditions and high risk of death. For two decades, this policy has failed to deter border crossers while successfully turning the rugged terrain of southern Arizona into a killing field. In harrowing detail, De Leon chronicles the journeys of people who have made dozens of attempts to cross the border and uncovers the stories of the objects and bodies left behind in the desert. The Land of Open Graves will spark debate and controversy.
Jason De Leon is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and Director of the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of clandestine border crossings between Mexico and the United States. His academic work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times Magazine, Al Jazeera magazine, The Huffington Post, and Vice magazine. In 2013, De Leon was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Introduction PART ONE. THIS HARD LAND 1. Prevention Through Deterrence 2. Dangerous Ground 3. Necroviolence PART TWO. EL CAMINO 4. Memo and Lucho 5. Deported 6. Technological Warfare 7. The Crossing PART THREE. PERILOUS TERRAIN 8. Exposure 9. You Can't Leave Them Behind 10. Maricela 11. We Will Wait until You Get Here 12. Epilogue Acknowledgments Appendix A. Border Patrol Apprehensions, Southern Border Sectors, 2000-2014 Appendix B. Border Patrol Apprehensions, Tucson Sector, by Distance from the Border, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 Notes References Index