How did the migrant detention bureaucracy develop in the United States and Mexico over the course of the past century?
The US and Mexico jail more than half a million migrants each year. This project explores the history of migrant detentions in Mexico and the collaboration between the US and Mexican governments to create a transnational migrant policing regime from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s. Ever since late nineteenth-century immigration restrictions began, migrants sought illegal entry to the US by crossing through Mexico. Although Mexico at first refused to cooperate with US authorities, by the 1920s, the countries established agreements to track, detain and deport unwanted migrants. Our research will explore the history of what has become the largest system of mass migrant incarceration on the planet.