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Between Coercion and Improvisation: The Case of Irregularised Migrants in Transit Across Mexico

Bernardo López Marín, Gianmaria Lenti


People who emigrate from their home countries, in Central America and beyond, by venturing across Mexico in unauthorised journeys engage in a constant ‘improvisation of life’ characterised by violence, danger and uncertainty. Multiple and interconnected forces frequently coerce these people to leave their countries behind and embark on travel that excludes them from any possibility to migrate legally or to seek refugee status abroad.
When the migratory path begins, these individuals abandon their ordinary lifestyles and are compelled to improvise themselves as irregularised migrants, while they have to struggle for survival and endure the dangers and vicissitudes of the journey, in order to come closer to their goals and objectives. At the time of becoming ‘irregularised,’ transit migrants enter a terrain characterised by precariousness, which makes them even more vulnerable to abuse and adverse realities. Among the cases of violence that characterise the marginalised territories of trans-Mexican routes, migrants in transit keep on improvising life within the context of death, and by creating strategies that alleviate the journeys’ vicissitudes, they manage to endure the escalation of governmental oppression and withstand the social consequences which epitomise this humanitarian crisis.


Mexico, Transit, improvisation, Migration,

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