¿Por qué Quédate? Frontiering through development in Guatemala
Across the global south, regimes of labour and mobility control are reforming that attempt to manage the northern movement of people. By combining financing development projects with explicit forms of border enforcement (including border personnel training and new securitization technologies), western governments and southern elites attempt to encourage publics (invariably poorer people of colour) to stay in local regions, rather than seek better livelihoods elsewhere. By reference to the USAID funded Centros Quédate or Stay Here Centres in Guatemala, this paper explores the merging of development and migration governance regimes through the concept of “frontiering through development.” The paper argues that initiatives such as these fail to consider the root causes of colonialism and imperialism that have long led people to migrate in the first place. Moreover, migration is cast as something problematic under discourses of populist economic nationalist sentiment, rather than beneficial to migrants, country-of-origin and destination regions. However, rather than passive recipients of patronising development, I show how participants rework the Quédate programme to fit their own onward goals. Paternalist development paradigms should take into account how crucial and embedded mobile livelihoods are in present-day realities.
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