Beyond Representation: Migrant Children Lost in the Violence of the Borderlands


  • Roger Bromley University of Nottingham


Parole chiave:

Borders, Children, Representation, Asylum, Families


This article begins with an examination of the increasing border enforcement and militarization of the US/Mexico border in recent years. This has led to the detention of thousands of migrants from, mainly, countries of the Northern Triangle. These migrations have been prompted by poverty, unemployment, gang wars, and environmental disasters. Among these migrants there has been a growing number of unaccompanied minors fleeing from exploitation and other dangers. A significant number of these children are sent to various states, where they wait, sometimes for years, for their asylum case to be heard. Others go missing. The main focus of the article is on these unaccompanied children, those who end up in immigration courts and those who are missing. Two texts by Valeria Luiselli are the subjects of analysis – one a non-fiction essay – Tell Me How It Ends (2017) – which is concerned with those children seeking asylum in the New York Immigration court; the other is a novel – Lost Children Archive (2019) which takes as its focus those children who are lost. Framed by a family story, both texts, in their different ways, treat the trauma of separation suffered by the children, in their countries of origin, on the perilous journey through Mexico, and in the United States. Common to both texts is the writer’s struggle to find a language and form to express the unimaginable trauma suffered by these children. Taking its cue from Blanchot’s The Writing of Disaster (1980), the analysis of both texts centres on the impossibility of writing about the experience of those “without language” but, nevertheless, having to settle for forms of approximation.




Come citare

Bromley, Roger. 2020. «Beyond Representation: Migrant Children Lost in the Violence of the Borderlands». Scritture Migranti, n. 14 (gennaio). Bologna, Italy:1-28.



Parte monografica