Migration Barriers and Buffers: The U.S.-Mexico Border in a North American Context

Tuesday, Feb 06, 2024

1:30pm - 3:00pm

Lecture by:
Dr. David FitzGerald

For most of the twentieth century, the U.S.-Mexico border was overwhelmingly important as a barrier to Mexican migration to the United States. Yet it has also functioned as a barrier for Latin American migration to Canada, and increasingly is dominated by attempted movements from a widening circle of other nationalities, including asylum seekers from outside the Western Hemisphere. This presentation will put contemporary headlines into a broader geopolitical context to explain how migration enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border is part of a much more widespread system of controls. Policies of the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican governments are highly interactive and cannot be understood simply by examining processes within each country. A historical perspective will show how policies dating to the late nineteenth century have recently shifted in surprising ways.

About The Lecturer

Dr. David FitzGerald

David Scott FitzGerald is Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations and Professor of Sociology at the University of California San Diego. His books include The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach (Polity Press 2023); Refuge beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers (Oxford University Press 2019); Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (Harvard University Press 2014); and Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration (University of California Press 2009). FitzGerald’s work has received a dozen awards from the American Political Science Association, International Studies Association, and American Sociological Association, including the ASA Distinguished Scholarly Book Award.