Migra y Maras: The Relationship Between the Proliferation of Central American Street Gangs and Migratory Patterns in the Northern Triangle, Mexico, and the United States
Howland, Samantha Elizabeth
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the proliferation of Central American street gangs (maras) and regular and irregular migration patterns in the Northern Triangle, Mexico and the U.S. Specifically, it will explore the complexity and multidimensional nature of this relationship and how gangs, primarily MS-13 and M-18 and their smaller sects, induce migration, how the responses of the governments of the Northern Triangle to combating the gangs have provoked migration, and how non-gang based migration patterns may serve as an impetus for gang membership or proliferation. The thesis also explores programmatic work and research, through stakeholder interviews and mappings, that addresses or remedies the consequences that result from the intersection between gangs and migration being conducted by local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local and national governments, international governmental coalitions, think tanks, research institutions and academia. The goal of this thesis is to expand the dialogue of this topic beyond the commonly discussed issues of access to asylum and punishment for gang members, and to explore the complexities and challenges associated with this relationship through a conflict resolution perspective.
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