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Nationality-Based Criminalisation of South-South Migration: the Experience of Venezuelan Forced Migrants in Peru

2021

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This article examines how Venezuelan forced migrants in Peru experience xenophobic discrimination, which has become increasingly linked to their criminalisation as thieves and murderers. Based on 12 months of qualitative fieldwork, including 72 in-depth interviews, five focus groups, and a survey (N116) in five Peruvian cities, we explore how Venezuelans experience, and make sense of, discrimination and criminalisation in everyday life. First, we discuss how criminalisation compares to general xenophobic discrimination, and other types of discrimination experiences. Second, we juxtapose the prevalence of xenophobic discrimination and criminalisation experiences across the five cities of our study, and between public spaces and the workspace. We then move to the qualitative discussion of the criminalisation experience in these different spaces. Fourth, we discuss how Venezuelan migrants perceive this criminalising discrimination as linked to their villanisation in the media and political discourses. Finally, we discuss our findings and make suggestion for further research. The paper contributes to the literature on migrant criminalisation by exploring how criminalisation processes play out in the context of large-scale intraregional forced displacement in the global South.

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