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Waiting as policy: Immigrant experiences of waiting in Chile and Argentina

Authors: Solange Munoz*, University of Tennessee, Lindsey Carte, Universidad de la Frontera, Chile
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Migration, Latin America
Keywords: Immigration, waiting, US immigration policy, Latin America,
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the last several years, restrictive immigration policies have intensified across the Americas, with many countries following the example of draconian enforcement measures of the Trump White House. As a result of these measures, for example, hundreds of migrants have been stranded at both Mexico’s northern and southern borders. Others, who would normally have sought to migrate to the U.S are now embarking on alternative routes, representative of migration “flows” to non-traditional receiving societies. This paper explores the experiences of these migrants, re-routed to third countries in Latin America, in some cases hoping and waiting to eventually migrate to the United States.

Positioned within a conceptual framework of waiting as a form of state control and also agency on the part of those who wait, this research examines the experiences and strategies of Venezuelan and Haitian immigrants in Argentina and Chile respectively, who are forced to wait months and often years for a response to their visa applications. In these cases, waiting is understood as a result of immigration enforcement measures, as well as a form of everyday, non-overt restriction measures. Similarly, we consider the choices that migrants make, as well as the everyday practices in which they engage, as representative of strategies and forms of resistance to the uncertainty and precarity that these policies produce.

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