The Implications of Migration Governance and Colonial Structures in Humanitarian Organisations in Mexico


Non-government organisations (NGOs) have emerged in Mexico to support migrants while also cooperating with governmental institutions. Based on nine months of fieldwork, this paper explores the ambivalences within humanitarian organisations that aid migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. First, this article suggests that organisations engage in practices of mistrust and policing of migrants that do not align with their intention to safeguard them. Second, it argues that NGOs facilitate instances of paternalism to control migrants in their shelters and further subordinate them. Finally, it addresses how local organisations and shelters resolved the duality of care and control by punishing migrants. NGOs are drawn to reinforce the power structures that govern global migration. This is often in contradiction to their caring and supportive roles. As a result, NGOs replicate entrenched racialising discourse, power inequalities and control over mobile subjects.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2023-06-01
Pages:72 to 82
Section:Special Issue. Southern Perspectives on Border Criminology
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How to Cite
Herrera Rosales, E. . (2023) “The Implications of Migration Governance and Colonial Structures in Humanitarian Organisations in Mexico”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 12(2), pp. 72-82. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2891.

Author Biography

University of Warwick
 United Kingdom

Erika Herrera Rosales holds a PhD from the University of Warwick and was an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies. Her doctoral research explored the social and power relationships between Central American migrants and non-governmental organisations. She is interest in topics of global migration, reflexive methodologies and colonial legacies. Her research aims to bridge the voices and experience of previously excluded individuals to improve their social conditions and wellbeing.