This essay reflects on the materiality of migration with a focus on passports and other kinds of documentary permissions for travel. It argues that throughout the history of the Americas passports have acquired meanings exceeding contemporary associations with national citizenship that are discernible in literary works and in the archival record. It looks to documentary practices in Latin America and the Caribbean to decenter the United States from studies of border crossing and Latinx subjectivities, suggesting intersecting hemispheric practices that delineate the relative importance of being documented or undocumented.

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