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This essay explores contemporary racial dynamics resulting from the ongoing securitization of borders in the United States and Mexico. It advances the concept of a “thickening” border, expanding both north and south through interrelated social forces: global efforts at immigration and drug enforcement, cultural and racial mixing, or mestizaje, and emerging forms of undocumented youth activism and identity formation. The essay suggests that borders, mestizaje, and “illegal” identities have been dramatically reworked and resignified on the ground.

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