The use and application of power are first defined by the social set up that constitutes a society and the country. A country is a composition of multiple nationalities with almost similar cultural practices comprised together in a formal political union and economic integration. Cultural practices in a country determine the overall application of law and practices that defines the do’s and don’ts of a country. The constitution of a country stipulates the scope of power of the government. In drawing up a constitution, cultural practices of the society are put into consideration so that the laws and regulation are within the society’s expectation and culture.
The concept of a nation and its sovereignty determines the relationship between itself and other states as well as its own citizens. In the day-to-day application of justice, states have been found to perpetrate and maintain inequality in the name of national sovereignty. As observed in the United States, the country has instituted several laws and policies that discriminate against immigrants. The US government immigration policies have long been standing against immigrants, especially those of Salvadoran origin as depicted in this survey (Coutin, 2005). It is due to the concept of state and nationality that the US government criminalizes and refuses to grant asylum to Salvadoran asylum seekers. The belief of the threat posed by illegal immigrants has led to making of different legislation.
The United States policies of drawing a line between criminals and immigrants have become blurred. Most of the law-abiding immigrants have found themselves detained in the name of mopping up those who are in the country illegally. The post 9/11 America has become increasingly versatile in matters concerning national security. After the 9/11 incident, the American law enforcers rounded all the immigrants who were in the country with no legal authority and detained them. They were detained not because they orchestrated the attack, but simply because they had come to America to seek asylum illegally.
The government did not draw a line between criminals and immigrants but viewed them all in the same bracket. Law enforcement in America has been somewhat skewed with immigrants bearing the brunt of residing in the country (Garner, 2005). The country like any country in the world has maintained sustained inequality against the citizens of other nationalities. In accomplishing these agendas, the state uses its machinations such as the police force immigration department and also court judgments. At some instances, the immigrants are made to sign some documents that indicate that equal treatment in the country would not be guaranteed. Like prisoners, unauthorized immigrants have been denied access to increasing numbers of social rights and benefits (Coutin, 2005). Initially before September 11, immigration judges were to consider equity before deporting immigrants and also whether the immigrant was involved in criminal activities or not. This system has currently been replaced by a mandatory deportation based on a broad spectrum of offenses. There have been incidences of immigrants fighting for their right to be granted asylum especially by a powerful solidarity movement that sought to counter the United States foreign and refugee policy. These, however, have bore little within the US judiciary and the country as a whole since US citizen and leaders are against it (Coutin, 2005).
Various states in the world have used different methods in maintaining and asserting power on their subjects and citizens. Several forms of governance that range from democratic governments, aristocracy, autocracy among others exist and all these forms of governments use different means to acquire and exert power. In many states, in the world, the population has been given the mandate of electing their leaders. Leaders and rulers of the states make use of various government apparatus to ensure that law and order have been followed. As indicated earlier the constitution of almost all states in the world borrows heavily from customary practices as well as religious beliefs. The use of police and armed forces apparatus is well evidenced in the situation that surrounded the violent demonstrations in India to curb the uprising that was against the beauty pageant that was meant to be held in India (Oza, 2001). Most of the Indians rejected the event citing that it was against their culture. There were heavy armed personnel in Bangalore city where the Miss World pageant was to be held. This was done in the government’s bid to exert its authority and its support to the event.
The government of India used the concept of a nation arguing that the event was meant to market India as a tourist destination and to introduce it to international investors. While the concept of a nation refers to a closely-knit cultural group of people with the same culture, religious beliefs and practices, the government of India tried to induce support from its citizens to accept the event since it was similar to their own cultural practice of mela. Various states in the world use the concept of a nation to influence decisions and to support policies put in place by government arms such as the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. In the United States, the freedom and democracy of citizens is a culture that has been adopted and carried from one generation to another. As a terrorism counter measure after 9/11, American government moved to convince its citizens that immigrants posed a security threat on their own revered culture of freedom. This move has gained acceptance to most of the American citizens.
It is obvious that people who are within the corridors of power influences the decisions of the state and benefits most in activities of the government. Another influence of the government decisions stems from cultural practices as well as the international positioning of the country. American mistreatment of immigrants arises from what Susan B.C in her article refer to as ‘moral panic’ (Coutin, 2005), where they have been accused of taking jobs from American citizens as well as draining American resources (Coutin, 2005).
In the India debate concerning the life of a woman in the modern set up of society (a predominantly a patriarch one), Rupal Oza argues that the nation's resistance to globalization was structured on and through maintaining oppressive gender and sexual code (Oza, 2001). Although the government has taken steps in trying to demystify the notion of globalization and modernity, the issue of women remained to be thorny in the Indian society.
In the struggle between modernity and culture, government policies and the expectation of people, victims arise especially when individuals cannot compete with the government. In the case of Indian demonstrations, a beauty event went on as scheduled regardless of the opposition from the masses. Their call for respect of their culture was ignored. Salvadorian immigrants have to bear with exploitation in the job market and constant harassment by the US government.
Government activities have sparked various human right movements that rise to contest for the right of its members. For instance, human right movements in the US that sought for a fair treatment of Salvadoran have come into existence. These right groups were also concerned with the political situation in their mother country. (Coutin, 2005) Gender movements usually come on defense of different policies that go against the culture or what people have been practicing. There was a rise in gender movements in India after the government supported the pageant event. A good example was the BJP religious party, which opposed the event on the basis of Indian culture, womanhood and imperialistic culture imposed on the people of India (Oza, 2001,). Other groups like AIDWA opposed the event based on state expenditure (Oza, 2001). The opposition to the event also brought the debate of women body that they accused organizers of the pageant at commercializing women body while at the same time failing to ensure participants covered some of their body parts which each woman knows it should be covered (Oza, 2001). As was the case, the opposition on the pageant was based on cultural defence and the urge that the government should take necessary action in enforcing the wish of masses (Oza, 26).
Inequality in the society will always cause a rift and peaceful coexistence of any country since citizens will fight for their right. To address these issues of civil unrest, governments worldwide need to involve their citizens in the formulation of policies and laws to govern them. Equal treatment and pursuit of justice for all would help in solving these problems.
Coutin Bibler Susan (2005). Contesting criminality: Illegal immigration and the spatialization of legality. Theoretical criminology, 9(1), 5-33.
Oza Rupal. (2001) Showcasing India: Gender, Geography, and Globalization. Globalization and Gender, 26(4), 1067-1095.
Garner, S. (2012). State Of White Supremacy: Racism, Governance And The United States.Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(8), 1510-1511.