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Immigration Protocols and Extralegal Demands: A Comparison Between the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands and South Africa

Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp, Teresa Garza Gómez, Gahlia Brogneri and Watson Moyana
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Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp: Sonoma State University, Cape Town, South Africa
Teresa Garza Gómez: Centro Latino, Berkeley, California and former editor of El Cotidiano magazine, United States
Gahlia Brogneri: Founder and Director, the Adonis Musati Project (AMP), Cape Town, South Africa
Watson Moyana: Social Worker, Children, Families and Learning, Brighton & Hove City Council, UK and former Seniour Manager at AMP, Cape Town, South Africa

Migration and Diversity, 2023, vol. 2, issue 1, 109-126

Abstract: This paper presents a comparative case analysis arguing that undocumented immigrants in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands and in South Africa become criminalised by navigating host and recipient country legal protocols and norms. The immigrants (often bonafide asylum seekers and refugees) live in host countries without the necessary legal immigrant papers and therefore lack legal status. Illegality attaches to this status and creates economic demands satisfied by those who produce immigrant papers whether authorised or not. At times, government functionaries participate in these extralegal economies, adding to the robustness of the illicit economies and further harming this vulnerable population of cross-border migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented immigrants. (For this paper, the term immigrants is an umbrella term for all the migrants.) The criminalisation of immigrants is rooted in the actions or inactions of government actors in the Global North and Global South who deny immigrants legal standing in the host country or in transit. These government functionaries and their smuggler counterparts, in turn, create extralegal demands for papers and profit from restrictive immigration protocols.

Keywords: Immigrants; corruption; criminalisation; the U.S.-Mexico borderlands; South Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.33182/md.v2i1.2978

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