CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

How Securitization, Changing Migration Patterns, and Gendered Physical & Social Attributes Affect the Crossing Experiences of Migrant Women at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Kate McNamara-Marsland, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Beth Simmons

Date of this Version: 26 April 2022

 

Abstract

This thesis draws from literature at the intersection of human rights, migration, gender, and borders. It analyzes migration as a gendered experience at the U.S.-Mexico border over the last ten years, looking at how the crossing experience of migrants varies by gender, as well as considering migrant deaths by sex. This paper gleans insights from interviews with migration-related agencies, and analyzes border patrol records and human rights reports. The main aim of this paper is to examine the differential impact that trends toward securitization, and its effect on the policies at the border, have on female migrants, looking at the southern Arizona and southern Texas areas.

Findings illustrate that female migrants are vulnerable at the intersection of social and physical factors. Analyses indicate that female migrant death rates have been increasing at an especially sharp rate, and that female migrants are more likely to die of harsh environmental effects, with an especially strong difference between sexes in southern Texas. Migrant females were also found to undertake fewer crossing attempts and die closer to the border, especially in southern Arizona. Migrant females are also found to be more likely to travel in a family unit, which poses additional difficulties for their crossing. Finally, females are more likely to experience sexual assault before and during their crossing, which can have profound psychological impacts during crossing. Overall, findings illustrate that female migrants are vulnerable due to social and physical factors, suggesting their experiences should be analyzed across the whole border through these lenses.

Suggested Citation

McNamara-Marsland, Kate, "How Securitization, Changing Migration Patterns, and Gendered Physical & Social Attributes Affect the Crossing Experiences of Migrant Women at the U.S.-Mexico Border" 26 April 2022. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania, https://repository.upenn.edu/curej/263.

Date Posted: 20 May 2022

 

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