The 3×1 Program for migrants and vigilante groups in contemporary Mexico

Clarisa Pérez-Armendáriz & Lauren Duquette-Rury. 2019. “The 3×1 Program for migrants and vigilante groups in contemporary Mexico.”Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1623345

What explains the emergence of armed vigilante groups in Mexico over the past decade? This article links the recent emergence of armed vigilante organisations to United States-Mexico migration. Drawing on an original dataset collected from 2352 Mexican municipalities between 2002 and 2013, we find that a given community’s participation in programmes through which migrant organisations called hometown associations (HTAs) produce public goods in collaboration with sending state authorities is associated with a higher probability of observing an armed vigilante group. More specifically, armed vigilante groups are more likely to operate in those municipalities where HTAs repeatedly participate in the formal co-provision of public goods with government authorities. Contrary to our theoretical expectations, we also find that the presence of vigilante groups does not appear to be driven by HTA’s desire to protect their collective investments. We are not more likely to observe vigilante groups in those communities in which HTAs invest the most money. We argue that the positive relationship between frequent HTA participation in programmes where government authorities and migrants co-produce public goods obtains because the processes that this collaboration entails enable community members to act collectively to provide self-help forms of security and justice for their communities.