Contested Borders and Immigration Enforcement

Policy on the Ground

What does the U.S. immigration enforcement policy look like at the border wall?  Why do people risk their lives to trek the Sonora desert to work in the United States?  Is Operation Streamline, a zero tolerance federal court trial for undocumented immigrants, constitutionally valid?   Questions of policy, migration strategies, and legal validity permeate my SSW classes on immigration.  In them, we explore these issues by reading research, watching videos, questioning guest lecturers and discussing issues among ourselves.

This class consists of travel to the U.S./Mexico border to witness, experience, record, and reflect on the repercussions of U.S. immigration and border enforcement policy. The objective is to begin to understand the nuances of this immigration and our policy responses by observing the day-to-day activities that constitute the minutiae of a policy’s impact on both the people who migrate and the people who enforce the policy. We will use this understanding to consider how to reshape immigration policies, social service agencies’ rules, and humanitarian responses to current policies. This trip focuses on students learning from their own observations and experiences rather than evaluating the research and experiences of others.

Project Team

Sherrie Kossoudji, School of Social Work