The More Things Change, The More they Stay the Same: Border Governance and Resistance along Mexico’s Southern Border with Guatemala
With the politics of borders, the socio-economic divide between the United States and Mexico is evident. The geographic proximity to the U.S. makes the Mexico–Guatemala border an extension of the U.S. border enforcement regime. This article argues that the politics surrounding the U.S.–Guatemala border have not necessarily changed, because, at the core, the main objective of these border governance practices is to stop the movement of undesirable bodies (Khosravi 2011). Further, the article argues that the practices of containment force migrants to resist through their movement and seek strategies of survival. By comparing the administrations of Peña Nieto and López Obrador (AMLO) and analyzing the survival strategy of migrant “caravans” through border policy analysis and fieldwork conducted in 2014, I show that this border is a site of struggle between the state’s power and migrants’ forms of resistance. I find that border tactics are influenced by U.S. border enforcement requirements of increased militarization and policing, but also aim to restrict and control certain populations. The result is the perpetual securitization of people and the militarization of pathways. Migrants, however, also employ forms of organizing such as travelling in mass groups to achieve safe passage, thus exercising their agency through movement. The bordering practices and the forms of resistance indicate that this border is a constant site of struggle that requires further examination.
Copyright (c) 2022 Carla Angulo-Pasel
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