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Photo of Priscilla Solano. Private.

Priscilla Solano

Senior lecturer

Photo of Priscilla Solano. Private.

Migrating through the Corridor of Death : The Making of a Complex Humanitarian Crisis


  • Priscilla Solano
  • Douglas Massey

Summary, in English

Drawing on the concept of a “complex humanitarian crisis,” this paper describes how outflows of migrants from Central America were transformed into such a crisis by intransigent immigration and border policies enacted in both Mexico and the United States. We describe the origins of the migration in U.S. Cold War interventions that created many thousands of displaced people fleeing violence and economic degradation in the region, leading to a sustained process of undocumented migration to the United States. Owing to rising levels of gang violence and weather events associated with climate change, the number of people seeking to escape threats in Central America has multiplied and unauthorized migration through Mexico toward the United States has increased. However, the securitization of migration in both Mexico and the United States has blocked these migrants from exercising their right to petition for asylum, creating a growing backlog of migrants who are subject to human rights violations and predations both by criminals and government authorities, leading migrants to label Mexican routes northward as a “corridor of death.” We draw on data from annual reports of Mexico's Red de Documentación de las Organizaciones Defensoras de Migrantes (Network for the Documentation of Migrant Defense Organizations) to construct a statistical profile of transit migrants and the threats they face as reported by humanitarian actors in Mexico. These reports allow us to better understand the practical realities of the “complex humanitarian crisis” facing undocumented migrants, both as unauthorized border crossers and as transit migrants moving between the southern frontiers of Mexico and the United States.


  • Sociology

Publishing year







Journal on Migration and Human Security





Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Human Geography


  • undocumented migration, humanitarian crisis, Mexico, transit




  • ISSN: 2331-5024