‘Cheap Merchandise’: Atrocity and Undocumented Migrants in Transit in Mexico’s War on Drugs

Javier Trevino-Rangel

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Undocumented migrants in transit in Mexico are victims of atrocity. The subject has been largely ignored by scholars, however, until recently when a number of migration experts became interested in the matter. Most observers argue that abuses suffered by migrants are the consequence of the ‘securitization’ of Mexican immigration policy. For them, Mexican authorities perceive migrants from Central America as a threat to national security and have hardened laws and migratory practices as a result, but there is insufficient evidence to support these claims. This article looks at the political economy of undocumented migration in transit in Mexico and the violence associated with it. It investigates the abuses suffered by migrants not as the result of supposed security policies but rather as the consequence of the interplay between local and global economies that generate profits from undocumented migration. The article explores the role played by state officials, cartels and ordinary Mexicans in the migration industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number089692052096181
Pages (from-to)777-793
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number4-5
Early online date26 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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