Sep 20, 2016
The Mexico-Canada border: Extraterritorial border control and the production of “economic refugees”
Dr. Julie E.E. Young
We are witnessing the emergence of the “Mexico-Canada border,” a paradoxical territorialisation that seeks to restrict migration from Mexico to Canada and simultaneously influences migration to and through Mexico itself. In examining the Mexico-Canada border, I argue that the interplay between the figure of the “bogus” “economic” refugee and Canada’s extraterritorial border control practices is crucial to understanding human security in North America today. Deployed to downplay the US role in displacing Central Americans during conflicts that reached their apex in the 1980s, the figure of the “economic refugee” endures as a discursive tool to dismiss the displacement of poor people towards the US and Canada as “illegal” or “bogus” and to justify denying them state protection. More recently, efforts to prevent the movement of people within North America have led to the curious situation of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers training Mexican border officials. This initiative is part of a broader Canadian strategy aimed at preventing asylum claims by Mexican nationals. Canada’s enforcement of Mexico’s borders offers a unique point of entry into the management of mobility within the region. Moderator: Dr. Robert O’Brien
About the Speaker
Dr. Julie E.E. Young is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. She holds a doctorate in Geography and a diploma in Refugee and Migration Studies from York University. Her dissertation focused on collaborative advocacy across the Canada-US border in response to the Central American refugee “crisis” of the late-1980s. Julie’s ongoing research program considers borders in relation to movements of people, raising questions of citizenship, agency, and politics. She has worked as a researcher in academic, public sector, and non-profit settings.
About the Moderator
Dr. Robert O’Brien is Professor of Political Science at McMaster University, where he has served as Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition (IGHC). His book length publications include: Solidarity First: Canadian Workers and Social Cohesion, Globalizing Labour (edited with Paul James), Global Unions? Theory and Strategy of Organised Labour in the Global Political Economy (edited with Jeffery Harrod), Contesting Global Governance: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements (with Marc Williams, Jan Art Scholte and Anne Marie Goetz), and Subsidy Regulation and State Transformation in North America, GATT and the EU.