Border & Migration

The University of Arizona and SIROW are located in Pima County, Arizona, which is only a 45-minute drive to the U.S.-Mexico border. Pima County is also a refugee resettlement area. Thus, Borders & Migration are an important focus of SIROW’s community-focused work.

Current Projects

This project is a binational collaboration between SIROW, University of Sonora (UNISON), and other partners in Mexico. This project is focused on improving the prison system by developing educational opportunities to support the engagement of people who are incarcerated in personal development and change as well as to develop marketable skills.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@arizona.edu

Project partners: UArizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Mexico Initiatives, University of Sonora (UNISON)

Location: SIROW Central, 3776 N. 1st Ave., STE. 102, Tucson, AZ 85719

This project examines the development, implementation, and geography of public information campaigns (PICs) as a strategy of border enforcement. Managing the transnational flow of people is one of the greatest challenges facing nation-states in the 21st century, requiring governments to negotiate complex issues of sovereignty, national security, and human safety and wellbeing. PICs present a potentially promising approach to regulating transnational mobility as they are often less expensive and easier to implement than traditional enforcement strategies. However, little is known about the use of PICs as a strategy of border enforcement. This project contributes to research in the field of political geography by producing new empirical data on an under-examined enforcement mechanism, while also contributing to theoretical understandings of how nation-states govern. The findings of this project will have implications for national security, ensuring that border enforcement efforts are effective, economically efficient, and safe. The dissemination plan, including a publicly available website and StoryMap, will enable public engagement and science communication while also providing easily accessible information for migration research and education. Graduate research assistants within in the project team will also promote the development and training of a diverse and competitive workforce in the geographical sciences.

Contact: Jill Williams, jillmwilliams@arizona.edu

Location: SIROW Main campus, 925 N Tyndall Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721

SIROW and the Law Department at the University of Sonora (UNISON) are developing a binational (US-MX) interdisciplinary research team focusing on human rights of, health needs of, and access to care for returnees or people in transit in the United States-México borderlands. SIROW and UNISON have vast research experience on migrant health issues (e.g., women and mixed-status families, migrant agricultural workers and indigenous populations of México). The binational team will: 1) Identify non-profit community centers/health clinics that serve migrant communities; and 2) Rely on qualitative and quantitative exploration of both offers and barriers to meet public and private health needs, patterns of search and demand for care and the social integration of mobile persons, with a focus on chronic, infectious or emerging diseases related to return migration.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@arizona.edu

Project partners: UArizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Mexico Initiatives, University of Sonora (UNISON)

Location: SIROW Central, 3776 N. 1st Ave., STE. 102, Tucson, AZ 85719

Completed Projects

Completed projects are listed in alphabetical order.

Contact: Nina Rabin, JD, Director of Border Research, rabin@email.arizona.edu

SIROW in collaboration with the James E. Rogers College of Law., Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, the ACLU of Arizona, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and Human Rights Watch. this project provided social support and services to individual detainees. In partnership with the Immigration Law Clinic, we also provided legal services to a select number of detainees each semester. We formed strong partnerships with nonprofits. SIROW worked jointly with these organizations to improve policies on both the local and national levels that were responsive to the needs of women detainees.

Contacts: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu & Rosi Andrade, rosia@email.arizona.edu

This pilot project explores the barriers facing immigrant mothers in Southern Arizona who seek public benefits for their citizen children. This is the first of such a study in Arizona, and is urgently needed since one-third of Arizona’s children have immigrant parents, even while Arizona has been expanding its laws to bar immigrants from public benefits. The Immigrant Mothers with Citizen Children Pilot Research Project includes structured qualitative and quantitative interviews with 20 immigrant mothers. The data will allow us to analyze (1) the impact of current laws on citizen children’s access to public benefits, (2) cultural barriers to utilizing benefits, and (3) how social welfare policies might become re-crafted to treat transnationalism (reflected by families with citizen children and immigrant parents) as an opportunity on which to build stronger communities, regions, and futures. Project data will also allow us to seek external funding for a larger action and research project to assist this population.

Contact: Nina Rabin, JD, rabin@email.arizona.edu

This project provides legal representation to women immigrants in removal proceedings in Eloy and Tucson, Arizona.  It focuses particularly on women immigrant detainees in Eloy Detention Center. Our clinic works in partnership with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, the Asylum Program of Arizona, and other organizations serving the immigrant community, to identify immigrants who could particularly benefit from the clinic's representation.  Law students work in pairs, under attorney supervision, to represent clients in all aspects of their immigration case. Our clients have included asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence, and long-time permanent residents seeking humanitarian waivers of removal. We have represented immigrants from countries including Afghanistan, Mexico, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Nepal.

Contact: Rosi Andrade, rosia@email.arizona.edu
Funded by the Research Program on Migration and Health (PIMSA)

Mujer Saludable on the US-Mexico Border is a binational research project led by SIROW and and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) to examine and address reproductive health needs and access to reproductive health care in the borderlands. Together, the partners use community-based participatory research methods to collect qualitative data to examine reproductive health needs and access to reproductive health care among women living in a low-resource community in Nogales, Son, MX.  The partners utilize this data and the promotora (i.e., community health worker) model to expand and adapt SIROW-UA’s sexual health curriculum Mujer Saludable to reflect the specific needs of the community. SIROW and COLEF will pilot test the adapted Mujer Saludable-Promotora curriculum with 10 mothers and their adolescent daughters to assess the curriculum for acceptability and its potential to impact teen pregnancy and increase access to reproductive care across the lifespan. The partners utilize research findings to inform health policy at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Contact: Nina Rabin, JD, rabin@email.arizona.edu

A collaborative effort with the non-profit organization the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project to dramatically increase pro bono representation for women detainees who have asylum claims based on severe domestic violence. The effort is modeled to a certain extent on similar efforts in the family detention context but adjusted to take into account the specific context of Eloy Detention Center, which is a particularly hostile and troubling place for women with claims for asylum based on domestic violence.

The goal of this effort is to improve case outcomes for the individuals served, as well as increasing their chances of reuniting with their families.  It also has the potential to improve case outcomes for other women with similar claims, by demonstrating through well-documented cases that these types of claims are viable.  In addition to furthering these individual asylum victories, this project will allow for important policy research and advocacy on the treatment of women fleeing life-threatening violence in our immigration system.

Contact: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu

The Transborder Consortium conducted an analysis of in-depth interviews with health experts from both sides of the Mexico-US border.  The analysis was centered on community health needs, challenges, and viable policy recommendations for gender-informed, regionally-appropriate policy recommendations regarding women’s health in the transborder region, revolving particularly around Arizona, U.S. and Sonora, Mexico.  Recommendations were shared in diverse ways with various audiences concerned with gender and health policy-- from academic researchers to health practitioners to policy makers at local, regional and national levels.  Preliminary findings around varying perceptions about the border region, and the ways those perceptions impact upon assessing needs and proposing changes in health policy, were presented to the Annual Information For Action Border Health Conference held in Tucson, October 27-28, 2005.  Later work further analyzed the interviews and laid the groundwork for a critical deconstruction of ideologies and their impacts on health and health care systems.  The Transborder Consortium presented a human rights framework as the best way to facilitate women’s health and reduce the inefficiencies of negotiating disparate systems and cross-cutting jurisdictions.  The Transborder Consortium was funded by the Ford Foundation.

Contact: Sally Stevens, sstevens@email.arizona.edu

The Transborder Health Consortium has continued to maintain and add content and resources to its website, “Women’s Health on the Border”.  Through ongoing SIROW support, this bilingual website contains information on women’s health issues specific to women in the border region as well as links to local and regional health providers and informational health resources.  Specific health issues identified by health care workers in the region have been highlighted in a section of periodic issues entitled “¿Qué Me Cuentas. . . ? (What Can You Tell Me About. . . . . ?)”.  Two issues have been developed with a focus on cancer prevention and menopause, and environmental health for women.  The research on these issues was conducted with focus groups of older women in Arizona and Sonora, extensive literature reviews and consultation with medical and lay professionals and residents of the border region.  The information on the website relates to the direct experiences, cultural beliefs and practices, and health care access of women living in the border region.  The information on the website is easily printable for dissemination by health providers and outreach workers.

Contact: Nina Rabin, JD, rabin@email.arizona.edu

The Tucson Immigrant Workers' Project is a joint project of SIROW and the Bacon Immigration Law & Policy Program at the James E. Rogers College of Law.  It provides low-wage immigrant workers with legal information, advice, and counseling about their employment rights.  It also offers outreach, education, and advocacy in order to improve the working conditions in occupations in which low-wage immigrant workers, particularly women, predominate.  The Project has three major components: (1) Legal advice clinic: low-wage immigrant workers can receive confidential legal advice and counseling about their workplace rights.  Students from the UA law school staff the clinic, under the supervision of the Bacon Fellow and Director. Staff are trained to respond to questions about employment matters including wage and hour violations, race and sex discrimination, sexual harassment, disability and unemployment benefits, and workers’ compensation.  In some cases, staff provides workers with follow up advocacy and representation; in other cases, they offer referrals to a network of attorneys and organizations interested in providing pro bono or reduced fee representation; (2) Outreach, trainings, and education: law students and the Bacon Fellow offer “know your rights” presentations to groups of immigrant workers in the Tucson community introducing them to basic employment law concepts;  (3) Research, Documentation, and Public Advocacy: before discussing an individual’s specific employment question at the clinic, staff guide her through an in-take form with questions about the conditions of her employment.  Using this information, SIROW will issue a series of reports on the conditions of women workers in Tucson providing a foundation for public awareness and advocacy campaigns.