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Eugenic NationFaults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America$
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Alexandra Minna Stern

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285064

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285064.001.0001

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Quarantine and Eugenic Gatekeeping on the US-Mexican Border

Quarantine and Eugenic Gatekeeping on the US-Mexican Border

Chapter:
(p.57) Chapter 2 Quarantine and Eugenic Gatekeeping on the US-Mexican Border
Source:
Eugenic Nation
Author(s):

Alexandra Minna Stern

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520285064.003.0003

This chapter draws more connections between colonial medicine and eugenics along the US–Mexican border, where a protracted quarantine scrutinized and simultaneously racialized the bodies of Mexican immigrants. From the 1910s to the 1940s, the US Public Health Service (USPHS) and the Border Patrol promoted and shaped this multilayered process of racialization in the US–Mexican borderlands. By making admissibility into the United States dependent on standards of health and cleanliness, the USPHS merged medicalization with the politics of social and racial labeling. When the typhus quarantine was inaugurated in 1917, medicalization along the border became systematic and streamlined. For more than two decades, the quarantine and its accompanying procedures of disinfection and vaccination discursively linked Mexicans with disease and pathology.

Keywords:   US–Mexican border, Mexican immigrants, US Public Health Service, Border Patrol, medicalization, racial labeling, typhus quarantine

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