(City Journal) -- The average illegal alien might be puzzled to see his situation analyzed under the rubric of “queer theory.” That confusion would only mean that he has not spent enough time in university circles, where such pairings spring naturally from the all-consuming campaign to magnify victimhood and denounce the American status quo. A recent talk at UCLA’s political science department, “Undocumented and Acting Up: Queering Sovereignty in the Immigrant Rights Movement,” drew on “the insights of queer theory” to propose that both illegal aliens and HIV-positive homosexuals are victims of “simplistic accounts of individual action.” Their “death and suffering,” according to visiting lecturer Cristina Beltrán, are unjustly attributed to their own actions—presumably, crossing the border illegally, in the one case, and engaging in high-risk promiscuous sex, in the other. Queer theory, however, understands these problems to be the result not of voluntary behavior but of “global capitalism, human desire, and government failure.”
Two years ago, after mockery in the right-wing press, UCLA scuttled plans for a center to teach illegal aliens how to become labor- and immigration-rights organizers. But the desire to induct the illegal population into the growing roster of preferred academic victim groups remains strong at UCLA and elsewhere. Being brought under the aegis of “queer theory” is as royal a reception as one could hope for. Beltrán approvingly notes an irony in illegals’ “queer” campaign against the state: illegal-alien activists simultaneously denounce the state while seeking to gain its resources. As for that latter effort, do they ever! According to the New York Times, communities across the country are “still struggling to accommodate” last summer’s surge of illegal aliens, which has taxed local health-care and educational systems to the breaking point.