Suspended Lives of Central American Youth in Mexico: Between Inclusion and Survival

Periodo de realización: 1900/01/01 al 2021/01/01

Tipo: Capítulo de libro

Resumen: "In the countries of Northern Central America (NCA) (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), since the 1980s, there have been flows of refugees and migrants who have left for other countries to escape the violence and poverty that afflicts the region. At present, the growing precariousness and social inequality, lack of access to rights, weakening of democratic institutions, environmental deterioration, as well as increasing violence by gangs have worsened poverty, marginalization, and insecurity in the countries of origin, which has driven increasing processes of internal and international displacement of people who flee in search of alternatives for survival and to escape violence.Many migrants and displaced people arrive at Mexico's southern border in search of safety and better living conditions in Mexico or in the United States. Some of the people fleeing violence may qualify for international protection, although, for different reasons, not all of them want or succeed in carrying out a refugee claim. Others do not qualify for international protection, although insecurity or living conditions do not allow them to remain in their communities or countries of origin. People who do manage to apply for asylum in Mexico are forced to carry out the process at the southern border. Others, who lack the opportunity to apply for asylum, or who do not have the necessary legal status or the resources to move forward, are also "trapped" or "immobilized" in the border area in southern Mexico, in "areas of precarious transit" (Hess, 2012, p. 428), where they face difficult economic conditions, social marginalization and a precarious legal status (Basok and Rojas, 2017).Access to rights depends on the legal status of the migrants and displaced people in these areas of transit. Some obtain refugee status or complementary protection, while others are rejected or remain in an irregular status and may be subject to deportation. Despite the formal rights granted by the law, there are various formal and informal mechanisms that limit effective access to rights and services in this area of "involuntary immobility" (Carling, 2002, p. 5), which accentuates the vulnerability of this population. These spaces of forced immobility of migrants, displaced persons, and asylum seekers on the southern border of Mexico trap them in various situations of social and economic marginalization, which force them to develop daily strategies to survive, in conditions of unemployment, poverty and deprived of access to rights and services. This process produces a differential and precarious inclusion in the lower strata of the receiving communities.This analysis is based on two different research projects carried out by the authors on the southern border of Mexico between 2017 and 2019. The two investigations were qualitative and based on in-depth interviews. We were able to select interviews in which forms of differential inclusion were evident. We have taken up three short stories by young adults, whose personal narratives give an account of different forms of entrapment, accumulated disadvantages, inequalities and experiences of daily survival, resistance, and resilience of youth in the border area. These personal stories reflect some of the multiple processes, as well as the formal and informal mechanisms, through which this precarious and differential inclusion occurs, which accentuates the vulnerability and forced immobility of these young people."

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