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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Cabecitas Blancas: the (in)mobility of borders and notions of citizenship for Yucatecan migrant families  Seminar

18 November 2021
Via Teams

Event details

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar

In this paper, I will analyse the intersection of anti-migrant policies, institutional racism and arbitrary notions of citizenship by examining Cabecitas Blancas, a program run by the Yucatecan government to reunite families separated because of US immigration rules. A unique program in Mexico, Cabecitas Blancas helps Maya elders reunite them with their children living in the United States whom they have not seen for decades due to precarious immigration status. With this intervention, first I explore the ways in which notions of citizenship and the (in)ability to move in between borders are ongoing legacies of colonialism. Second, I examine the ways in which political changes in the US (with Trump) and Mexico (with AMLO) have impacted Cabecitas Blancas and immigration policies more broadly. Finally, I compare how the discourse about family separation has changed due to COVID-19. Countries such as Portugal have granted temporary citizenship to all migrants including undocumented people, Spain has closed its detention centres and allowed anyone (including migrants) to be able to apply for Universal Credit Income and Ireland has implemented a firewall between health services and immigration officers. These actions demonstrate how notions of citizenship are easily movable when the larger (white) population lives are in danger. 

Speaker Information

Dr Laura Loyola-Hernández - Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography, University of Leeds

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