chapter  10
Transnational Securityscapes
Central American (Immigrant) Youth and the “Military Option”
WithElana Zilberg
Pages 21

This chapter locates the figure of the Salvadoran youth at the junction of a pair of overlapping transnational and global moral panics, one organized around fear of crime and gangs, the other around Islamic terrorism. The so-called “transnational gang crisis” of the 1990s between the US and El Salvador intensified the war on crime and “crimmigration,” vilifying Salvadoran youth and accelerating their incarceration and deportation. After 9/11, these same “dangerous brown men” were heavily recruited into the US military’s “coalition of the willing” to fight the War on Terror. In these two competing, not-quite-resolving moral panics, Salvadoran youth are alternately objects of fear and savior subjects, though never fully absolved of the stigma of the earlier panic.