White supremacy in the United States during the post-Cold War and War on Terror eras

Discussant: Alejandro Posada Téllez

How deeply does racialization run in US counterterrorism policy? Though scholars have long noted the racialization of US counterterrorism policies, less attention has been paid to the laws behind those policies, how they developed, and what those developments demonstrate about how ideas about terrorist threats have changed historically. Using Congressional hearing transcripts from the early 1990s, I explore the ways that counterterrorism became explicitly entwined with counter-immigration in the aftermath of the Cold War. The exclusionary mindsets embedded in US immigration practices meant that terrorism legislation, in a very real way, became an adjudication of US national identity rather than a bastion of US national security. Understanding contemporary counterterrorism as stemming from older debates about immigration shines new light on how discourses of identity and belonging can shape security policy decades before singular events such as 9/11, and how such racialized foundations reproduce racist practices of exclusion in new areas of policy