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Refuge beyond ReachHow Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers$
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David Scott FitzGerald

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190874155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190874155.001.0001

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Buffering North America

Buffering North America

(p.123) Chapter 7 Buffering North America
Refuge beyond Reach

David Scott FitzGerald

Oxford University Press

Washington and Ottawa have tried to keep out most of the Central Americans fleeing to North America beginning in the civil wars of the 1980s. Central America and Mexico buffer the United States, which in turn buffers Canada. The U.S. government has propped up client states in Central America; paid for refugee camps; and provided training, equipment, and financing for migration controls further south. Mexico has weak rights of territorial personhood, so rather than strictly controlling entry across its southern border, its entire territory has become a “vertical frontier” with the United States. Aggressive U.S. enforcement at the Mexican border traps transit migrants in Mexico and creates an incentive for the Mexican government to deport them. But harsh U.S. enforcement on its border and the fact that it targets Mexicans as well as third-country nationals impedes the bilateral cooperation that would make Mexico a more effective buffer.

Keywords:   pushback, buffer state, safe third country, UNHCR, Plan Sur, securitization, Mérida Initiative, deportation, asylum, transit migration

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