"Road families" en route to the Mexico-US border


Itzel Eguiluz speaks with Alejandra Díaz de León about how the journey of Central American migrants walking north, through Mexico, is about much more than just having practical strategies to survive the journey.

Solidarity, trust and social bonds that are formed along the way, can also be valuable elements of the experience. We hear about what Alejandra calls “road families” and how during their journeys, migrants form communities around their common understanding and experiences of crossing Mexico. She details this in her book “Walking Together: Central Americans and Transit Migration through Mexico”, which was published in 2023.

Alejandra would like to acknowledge Dr. Yasemin Soysal and Dr Carlos Gigoux for their contribution/support. Also, Alejandra's research benefitted from funding through the CONACyT scholarship and SLAS.

Alejandra Díaz de León is an assistant professor of migration and violence at the Center for Sociological Studies at the Colegio de Mexico, in Mexico City. She holds a PhD in Sociology and an MA in Human Rights from the University of Texas. Her research focuses on human rights, solidarity, and the creation of bonds, trust, and cooperation among strangers during contexts of violence and uncertainty, like the transit of Central Americans through Mexico and to the United States.

Also check out these publications by Alejandra:
Díaz de León, Alejandra. “Family Dynamics, Violence and Transit Migration through Mexico.” Third World Quarterly 0, no. 0 (May 16, 2023): 1–15. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01436597.2023.2193321

Díaz de León, Alejandra. “Why Do You Trust Him? The Construction of the Good Migrant in the Mexican Migrant Route.” European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 111 (2021): 1–17. https://erlacs.org/articles/10.32992/erlacs.10645

Díaz de León, Alejandra. “Resignation and Resistance: How Do Undocumented Central American Migrants View Detention in Mexico? Journal of Latin American Geography 22, no. 1 (2023): 11–30.

Díaz de León, Alejandra. “Keep Them Out! Border Enforcement and Violence since 1986.” In These Ragged Edges: Histories of Violence along the U.S.-Mexico Border, edited by Andrew J. Torget and Gerardo Gurza-Lavalle. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2022.


While you're here – we, at the IMISCOE Migration podcast, would like to give you a recommendation for another, related podcast episode from the “Borders and Belonging” podcast, which is produced by our friends at Toronto Metropolitan University. They are currently releasing their second season, and have a really interesting episode on Mexicans migrants in the US who are from indigenous groups – check it out!
This is the link: https://www.torontomu.ca/cerc-migration/borders-and-belonging/#!tab-1699366719120-ep--2

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With one new release every month, our episodes will feature people engaged in research all around the world, and across various career stages.