Chapter 8

An Anatomy of Mexican Repatriation: Human Rights and the Borderlands of Complicity

by Tricia Gabany-Guerrero

In this chapter, cultural anthropologist Tricia Gabany-Guerrero takes up where corporate media treatments of immigration control efforts typically leave off, at the point of apprehension, after which the unauthorized entrant falls into the secretive government domain of immigrant detention and exclusion. Excessive violence and other types of mistreatment committed by the Border Patrol during the apprehension of unauthorized entrants constitute only the tip of an iceberg of injustice experienced by irregular immigrants. Through the methodological innovation of interviewing at Casa del Migrante, an organization providing temporary shelter and social services to penniless would-be migrants, Gabany-Guerrero collected the testimony of repatriated Mexicans revealing a range of serious injustices involved in detention and deportation.

Study Questions

  1. Gabany-Guerrero writes of “a growing crisis for immigrants and their advocates”: What does that crisis consist of, for pro-migrant-rights organizations on either side of the border?
  2. What problems relate particularly to the detention of undocumented children?

Critical Thinking

  1. Is it justified to confine people going through the civil proceedings of asylum or deportation in jails like criminals (and at times even with criminals), even when these people are not being charged with any crime?