Constructing the American Migrant Crisis
Securitization amidst Polarization
Using the Copenhagen School’s (1998) securitization framework and Scott Watson’s (2009) amendments, this paper demonstrates how Donald Trump used securitizing language to construct a national crisis, emanating from the southern border of the United States, that resisted saliency in a starkly polarized political climate. Key facilitating factors, including the frame resonance of xenophobic attitudes towards Mexican migrants and the institutionalization of migrant securitization throughout US history, caused his rhetoric to resonate with the far-right. However, political opposition and public opinion polls showed significant audience rejection of Trump’s securitization efforts. The conclusion notes consequences of migrant securitization and prospects for the Biden administration.