The virtual talk will discuss the historical, political, and social implications of the figure of the irregularized migrant in the Americas; the different ways in which the legal production of migrant irregularity and its deportability has operated in the region; how the open dispossession of rights has been exacerbated during the pandemic and has impacted the lives of irregularized migrants; and the future implications that, in different contexts and sub-regions, the proliferation of migrant irregularity has in social and political terms.

To know more about this subject, visit the website: Migrantes de otro Mundo 

Until more than a decade ago, the figure of the irregularized migrant was associated almost exclusively with migrant life in the United States. Millions of Latin American migrants have reached that country only to become irregularized and have remained in that migratory condition due to the impossibility of complying with strict U.S. legal requirements. The condition of irregularity has systematically limited their exercise of full citizenship in the most basic aspects such as access to healthcare, education, decent work, housing, and social security. In the U.S. more than 12 million irregularized migrants, primarily from Latin-American and the Caribbean, have been confined to everyday precariousness and live with the threat of being detained and deported at any given time.


This migratory reality has spread throughout the Americas. The recent shift towards securitization, reflected in laws, policies, and programs to control free mobility, has increased the production of irregularized migrants in practically all countries of the continent. In general, the focus in the Americas has shifted from the right of migrants to a focus on combatting irregularized immigration within the national space and to strengthen border security. At the same time, a violent xenophobic discourse is normalized within receiving societies resulting in direct consequences on the precariousness of migrant lives. If before the pandemic, irregularized migrants had already been disposed of basic rights, during the pandemic, the risks they face are heightened. They continue to be exploited, to work in unsanitary conditions, to dwell in overcrowded conditions, to be detained and deported, to get infected and untreated. The onslaught of the COVID-19 exposes the latent impediment that irregular migrants face for living in dignity and having rights.


This is the situation for irregularized Latinx, Caribbean, and extra-continental migrants residing in Canada and the United States, among Central American irregularized migrants residing in Mexico, as well among Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, Haitians in the Dominican Republic among South American, Caribbean and extra-continental irregularized migrants in transit through Panama, among Venezuelan, Caribbean, and extra-continental irregularized migrants residing in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and among Bolivian and Peruvian irregularized migrants residing in Argentina and Chile.

In mid-March 2020, nearly every country on the continent declared a health emergency. These countries closed their borders and adopted a series of exceptional measures, arguing that forced immobility as a  solution to contain the virus. Following the shutdown of borders,  more than 30 researchers from the Americas, interested in analyzing the migratory question politically, organized virtually and began to consider the particular situation of millions of migrants, women, men, children and adolescents, from the continent and/or from other latitudes, all of whom are mobile and in transit.

Original Concept: Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston

General Coordination:Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston & Ulla D. Berg, Rutgers University

Research, Systematization and Development of Contents: Soledad Álvarez Velasco, University of Houston;  Ulla D. Berg, Rutgers University; Lucía Pérez-Martínez, FLACSO-Ecuador; Mónica Salmon, New School for Social Research; Sebastián León,  Rutgers University.

Coordination polyphonic map: Iréri Ceja Cárdenas: Museo Nacional/ Universidad Federal de Rio de Janeiro

Project Advisor: Nicholas De Genova, Universidad of Houston.


Translation team Spanish - English: 

Soledad Álvarez Velasco, Mónica Salmón, Ulla Berg, Luin Goldring, Tanya Basok, Ingrid Carlson, Gabrielle Cabrera.

Translation team Spanish - Portuguese: 

Iréri Ceja, Gustavo Dias, Gislene Santos, Elisa Colares, Handerson Joseph, Caio Fernandes, María Villarreal.

Website Design and Development:  ACHU! Studio; Francisco Hurtado Caicedo, Social Observatory of Ecuador

Photography: David Gustafsson y Cynthia Briones.

Video: David Gustafsson.

Some of the researchers of this project are members of these CLACSO Working Groups

English translation and proofreading by Gabrielle Cabrera, Rutgers University.

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