Human rights and unreliable institutions in a globalized world: The case of irregular migrants in Mexico

Mauricio Olivares-Méndez, Radu Mihai Triculescu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


State sovereignty, it has been argued, is starting to be found more and more in a multiplicity of arenas, but the State no longer plays the only role in the reallocation of this sovereignty. Globalization has pushed states to accept giving up some powers, and it seems that as a result they strongly assert others that are mostly uncontested. Immigration law seems to have become the last bastion of a state’s ability to unilaterally impose its sovereign powers, this much more so when it comes to its response to irregular migration. The dynamic between the forces of globalization and the reaction of the State to those forces pushes irregular migrants into a grey area where their claim to fundamental rights is not met with the proper protections expected from a state with a strong rule of law. Mexico, as this book has made clear, faces significant challenges in rethinking and rebuilding its relationship with citizens and non-citizens alike. Shining a light on the experiences of the latter group is a key aspect of designing a better institutional framework that guarantees the access and protection of human rights. This chapter provides a review of the interlinked understandings of sovereignty, globalization and the rule of law, then uses data collected through the Documentation Network of Migrant Advocacy Organizations (REDODEM) and other civil society organizations to illustrate the difficulties migrants encounter in their transit and stay in Mexico, and ends with a series of reflections for the long journey ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRebuilding the State Institutions
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for Democratic Rule of Law in Mexico
EditorsJuan Antonio Le Clercq, Jose Pablo Abreu Sacramento
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030313142
ISBN (Print)9783030313135
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019


  • Globalization
  • Human rights
  • Irregular migration
  • Rule of law
  • Sovereignty

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