In the last decade, Mexico’s southern border has become increasingly controlled and militarized, cementing Mexico’s role as a containment territory on the North American continent. In this context, the doctrine of “safe, orderly and regular migration” emerges, according to which migration is allowed – even promoted – as long as it is carried out in the appropriate manner, that is, safely, orderly and regularly. The opposite is presented as an undesirable phenomenon to eradicate. This dichotomous logic not only reproduces hierarchies of migrants but is also integrated into the regional consultative processes of the American continent, as well as in the elaboration of migration policies at the national level and bilateral cooperation programs. Through the analysis of semi-structured interviews, this contribution seeks to critically analyze how women asylum seekers and refugees in Tapachula (Chiapas, Mexico) experience the legal dichotomies of migration, in this case the migratory “regularity” and “irregularity”. Specifically, it is intended, through legal ethnography, to understand the causes of their “irregular” migration, to analyze how the migratory status (“regularity” and “irregularity”) has impacted the migratory experiences of these women, and understand how women in transit perceive and relate, directly or indirectly, to “regularity” and “irregularity”.


legal ethnography southern border women irregular migration asylum seekers