Chapter 26: Dirty borderwork and maculated borders: examining the Mexican Transit Control Regime
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The apprehension of irregular migrants is legitimised by the “sovereign power of the state to govern its borders” mantra, however, the policing of migration control in transit states underscores geopolitical arrangements that make the sovereign angle more difficult to grasp. This chapter has as a case study the Transit Control Regime enforced by Mexico to stop and deter irregular migration in transit to the United States. It draws on the narratives of frontline migration officers and archival information obtained through Freedom of Information Requests. Inspired by the “dirty work” conceptualisation, it mobilises the notion of dirty borderwork to analyse the geopolitical arrangements that originated the regime and its “in-transit” focus aligned with a US-led securitising agenda. With the term maculated border, it examines the normative, material, and performative dimensions of the regime, that is, how dirty borderwork arrangements have transmuted and tainted the logics and practices of border control in Mexico.

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