From Stateless to Citizen: Indigenous Guatemalan Refugees in Mexico

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Refugees, Stateless, Mexico, Guatemala, Central America, Deportations, Indigenous, Maya, Violence, Migrant Families, Legal Status, Documentary Photography


U.S. foreign policy has increasingly pressured Mexico to bolster immigration enforcement. In 2015, deportations of migrants from Central America in Mexico exceeded 165,000, more than twice the number of U.S. deportations to this region. As scholars and human rights activists have already begun to identify how bolstered immigration enforcement in Mexico has increased discrimination toward indigenous and migrant populations, what impacts will this have on longstanding indigenous migrant communities in Mexico? To help answer this question my work features 26 stateless indigenous Mayans who fled Guatemala in the 1980s during a violent military conflict that engulfed the region until the late 1990s, and provides an in-depth look at how Mexico’s immigration enforcement measures impacts stateless subjects and their families.

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Published online through Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.