Woman H

Women H lived in Antigua as an independent business women. A few days after the interview she migrated to the east coast of the United States to live with her spouse, a United States citizen she had met when he visited Antigua. She went to the United States with a permanent resident visa and plans to live there for a number of years before eventually returning to raise a family in Guatemala.

“Nothing, is…more securely shielded against the visibility and audibility of the public realm, than what goes on within the confines of the body…Nothing, by the same token, ejects one more radically from the world than exclusive concentration upon the body’s life.” (Ardent 110)

In both undocumented and documented migration, there is an intent and focus on the body during the process. Undocumented migration stresses the body, as seen in its crossing across country lines and spaces – such as the desert – that are dangerous exist in a type of political limbo that exposes the body to bare life. However, the type of migration done by Women H, officially and with a visa, still exposes the body to outside forces – the state one is trying to enter. Visa applicants must go through, according to both Woman H and the government travel site, a panel of vaccinations and medical examinations. While, it can be argued that these are done to protect the health of a nation. It can’t be forgotten that the body, as Ardent writes, is inherently tied to ideas of work.  “There is no doubt that, as the natural process of life is located in the body, there is no more immediately life-bound activity than laboring.” (Ardent, 110).

To further emphasize this point, not only does a visa cost money; Women H even said that if they had hired a lawyer to help with the forms, it would have cost thousands of dollars, but a person must also demonstrate evidence that they and their spouse will be able to have a sufficient financial status. However what that would be is not clearly defined.

This attention to a person and their labor engages the body, normally a private entity, as a public work. This goes against the normal, inherent personal localization of the body as “nothing, is…more securely shielded against the visibility and audibility of the public realm, than what goes on within the confines of the body…¨(Ardent 110). This treatment of the body as a public of space uses the inherent boundary of the bare life that Agamben writes is in everyone. This brief transition to the bare life takes one out of their own country to situate them as blank slates for a new country. “Nothing, by the same token, ejects one more radically from the world than exclusive concentration upon the body’s life.” (Ardent 110)

…the mechanics of power are addressed to the body, to life, to what causes it to proliferate, to what reinforces the species, its stamina, its ability to dominate, or its capacity to being used” (Foucault 147).