LASA Paper Abstract: Gendered Statelessness

LASA2015 / Precariedades, exclusiones, emergencias
San Juan Puerto Rico, May 27 – 30, 2015

Gendered Statelessness: Mexican Migrant Women in Canada Managing Transnational Families at the Margins

Evelyn Encalada Grez

York University
Justice for Migrant Workers

States in the Global North are increasingly turning to temporary labour migration schemes to offset a sleuth of tensions arising from unregulated migration and permanent settlement. Canada has operated the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) for more than five decades which recruits workers from Mexico and parts of the Caribbean to work in agriculture. This presentation focuses on the experiences of Mexican migrant women in the SAWP and the ways in which states have foregone their citizenship rights from the point of recruitment, integration and lack thereof in Canada and in the fragmentation of their lives and that of their transnational families. Women’s weak citizenship currency migrates with them to Canada and degrades further through state sanctioned exclusions from key social protections. As a result migrant women find themselves at the margins of states and in a condition of virtual statelessness. Consequences of this statelessness are gendered and span spatial borders and jurisdictions in Mexico, Canada and the United States. As breadwinners and homemakers, migrant women often find themselves struggling to manage transnational families across North America with limited social protections and citizenship rights. Transnational families are products of state policies that disenfranchise and complicate survival and homemaking practices among Mexican migrant women locked in a space of transnational citizenship exclusion. Concluding contemplations will be offered on transnational citizenship rights, transnational organizing to strengthen citizenship claims and the urgency to conceptually reframe debates and organizing efforts against borders and bordering practices.


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