Crossing borders and remaking time: immigrants on transcontinental routes across the American continents

Round Table Details

Format: hybrid

Short Abstract

The contemporary situation of migrations in the American continent exposes a scenario of crisis and asymmetries between countries and their various migration policies. From migratory routes that cross the entire continent, taking immigrants of various nationalities (South American, African, Caribbean, Asian) to the Mexico-USA border, to routes restricted to neighbouring countries (such as the migrations of Venezuelans to Colombia, Brazil, etc.), passing through routes that link Central America to the same Mexican border, we see a set of displacements that can we analyse from comparative perspectives, bringing up new issues within this scenario. Based on various approaches, this round table intends to think about the current reality of these migratory flows and compare their different characteristics, differences, and similarities. Analysing migratory routes also lead us to think about the different migration policies imposed on the path of immigrants trying to cross several countries, in policies that aim at the summary expulsion of certain contingents, in policies that also aim at regulating transit migration, in the conflicts that arise between different countries along this route and the dilemmas posed by the North American policies on migration, deportation, and expulsion. This scenario also leads us to think about migrant temporalities and spatialities in contrast to the successive state rules they try to overcome in their long journeys.


In the scenario of migration routes across the Americas, issues related to gender, race, power colonialities, generations, family, unaccompanied children, violence, exploitation by coyotes, etc., are evident in the various works already carried out in an extensive bibliography on the subject. In this round table, we are going to think about some of these transits to make comparisons for future research. Machado is concerned with the issue of the entry and passage of immigrants through Brazil, seen in this perspective as a gateway to migration routes to the “Global North”, carried out by migrants from Africa, from Haiti, and also from Venezuela. The experience of these populations that pass through Brazil in search of new destinations implies a reflection on the temporality of migrants, as we speak of processes that involve the permanence of these immigrants in Brazil for a reasonable time (between 3 and 4 years) before continuing the land migration strategies towards the Mexico USA border. Montinard, in turn, debates the case of Haitian migration routes across the Americas from Brazil, seeking to give meaning to displacements based on the ethnographic experience with families and Haitians on the move. Based on the category of “wout” (routes), she seeks to understand the complex relationship between kinship and the objective and subjective tensions imposed by the dramatic experience of travelling through three continents and facing different forms of migratory controls in the various countries crossed. Miranda analyses quota systems to control mobility in migratory corridors from South America to Mexico. As he shows, not only Central American migrants pass through these corridors, but also Caribbean and transcontinental migrants. The issue of waiting in the various border systems is the focus of the investigation, generating a reflection on complex migrant temporalities in contrast to the state temporalities that they try to cross. Winters proposes a discussion of African migration routes across the Americas from categories such as “eventfulness”, to put in perspective both a more structural approach, focusing on mobility regimes and in the migration industry as a more ethnographic perspective, trying to understand the relationship between migrants and the places they pass through or inhabit on their way to the imagined final destination. Questions about migrant temporality and spatiality are also articulated in this perspective, allowing a comparative reflection between the ways of producing time, space and place that “moving” immigrants produce along the way.


Transcontinental migration, South America, Central America, Temporalities, migratory controls

Application sponsorship:

Sponsored by the Migration and Displacement Committee of the Brazilian Association of Anthropology


Person: Dr. Igor José De Renó Machado
Organization and department: Federal University of São Carlos, Social Sciences
Country, city and state: Brazil, Ribeirao Preto, SP


Co-convenor #1: Dr. Bruno Felipe De Souza E Miranda, Universidad NAcional Autônoma de México, Mexico
Co-convenor #2: PhD. Melanie Véronique Lèger Montinard, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil