Migration in the margins : A feminist geopolitical study of Mexico's southern border
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U.S. support for border enforcement in Mexico has been ongoing for decades, but after the arrival of unprecedented numbers of Central American minors and families in the U.S. Southwest in 2014, greater pressure was placed on Mexico to seal its border with Guatemala. This thesis explores the resulting tensions between the latest Mexican border enforcement policies, intended to tighten security and surveillance especially in the south of the country, and the relatively new (2011) Migration Law, intended to facilitate the protection of migrants’ rights. Drawing on critical discourse analysis as well as a feminist geopolitical approach to ethnography, this thesis looks at the ways that the boundaries of the Mexican state are maintained through both infrastructural and administrative barriers, resulting in the creation of marginal spaces where migrants are simultaneously included and excluded from state protection. Importantly, this thesis finds that the state margins, while often the sites of neglect, exploitation, and exception, also serve as sites of creative resistance, where alternative geographies are developed. In some instances, as during the summer of 2016 in Oaxaca, Mexico, resistance in separate marginal spaces overlaps, generating opportunities for migrants’ increased mobility in the southern border region. In conclusion, this thesis calls for a reexamination of the ways that migrants’ rights are upheld, and maintains that threads of accountability must be traced between local, national and international actors.