Author Bio

Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales is Associate Professor in the School of Education and affiliate faculty in the Migration Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of education and immigration whose work focuses on undocumented students, higher education, and social movements. Her co-authored book Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World was published by UCPress in 2016 and her co-edited book We Are Not Dreamers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States was published by Duke University Press in 2020


This article examines the killing of three teenage boys at the U.S.-Mexico border between 2010 and 2013. Through an examination of these murders at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Enforcement agents, the article argues that the murders of Sergio Adrían Hernández Guereca, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez and Cruz Marcelino Velasquez Acevedo at the U.S.-Mexico border exemplify the reality that not all children are afforded the so-called universal protection of childhood as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights law. We can see how the state repudiates its role as protector of brown children at the border through the deployment of three tactics—the protecting of Border Patrol agents, victim-blaming and the justification of lethal violence in non-life-threatening situations, and the casting of the U.S.-Mexico border as a zone of exceptionalism—and ultimately how situating these killings within a human rights framework illuminates the possibilities of such a framework.

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