As Americans continue to debate immigration reform, border enforcement and Arizona’s recent legislation, experts from The University of Texas at Austin are offering their views on these issues through a series of online videos.
Each week, “Border Views” has showcased a different faculty member discussing such topics as the history of illegal immigration, the unusual political alliances that have developed around this debate and the media’s role in covering it.
Video produced by Christopher Palmer
The University of Texas at Austin has some of the leading Latin American studies scholars in the world, including law professors, political scientists and historians.
“We all know there’s a ‘crisis’ in northern Mexico, in danger of spilling over into the U.S. But beneath the often sensationalist surface, questions abound,” says Charles R. Hale, director of the university’s Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. “What is the human rights record of the Mexican military, and how should this factor into our appraisal of that government’s war on narco-traffickers? Do the charges of racism against initiatives like that of the Arizona law and the Utah list hold up to scrutiny? What effects does the border wall have on us all?
“This series allows University of Texas at Austin scholars to share well-grounded research on such questions in hopes of generating informed debate on one of most intractable social policy issues of our times.”
The videos are available for use by educational and news Web sites. The faculty members are also available for follow-up interviews with the media.
Part 10: Martha Menchaca
Martha Menchaca, professor in the Department of Anthropology, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and Center for Mexican American Studies, explores race and ethnicity and has written a book on naturalizing Mexican immigrants which focuses on Texas as a case study.
In three videos, Menchaca discusses her research into the trends and historical context behind naturalization and the birthright movement and her thoughts on curbing undocumented migration from Mexico to the United States.
- Video 1: Menchaca discusses national identities and loyalty, citing her research into the trends of naturalization among Mexican immigrants living in the United States.
- Video 2: Menchaca addresses the history and significance of modifying the law of birthright citizenship to exclude the children of immigrant workers and students.
- Video 3: Menchaca presents alternative solutions to decrease the flow of illegal Mexican workers into the United States.
Part 9: Terri Givens
Terri Givens, associate professor in the Department of Government, studies radical right parties as well as immigration politics, security and immigrant integration in Europe.
In three videos, Givens discusses the connections between Europe’s immigration policies and those of the U.S., as well as cultural forces that drive attitudes toward immigration.
- Video 1: Givens discusses parallels between European attitudes toward Islam and U.S. attitudes toward Spanish-speaking immigrants.
- Video 2: Givens examines Europe’s immigration policies for skilled workers and how they compare to the U.S. approach.
- Video 3: Givens explains how cultural and economic forces drive attitudes toward immigration.
Part 8: Gary Freeman
Gary Freeman, chair of the Department of Government, studies immigration politics and policy in western democracies. He examines how immigration has profoundly shaped the national development of countries.
In three videos, Freeman discusses the problems of an immigration policy focused more on family reunification than on bringing highly skilled workers to the nation.
- Video 1: Freeman discusses the gap between conservative public opinion and liberal public policy toward immigration.
- Video 2: Freeman explains why border enforcement and amnesty proponents can’t compromise.
- Video 3: Freeman discusses the challenges of an immigration policy focused more on family reunification than skilled workers.
Part 7: John Sibley Butler
John Sibley Butler, a management professor in the McCombs School of Business and a sociology professor in the College of Liberal Arts, is an expert in organizational behavior, entrepreneurship and new ventures. He is director of the the IC2 Institute, which is dedicated to the creation of new ventures throughout the world. Butler edited the 2009 book “An American Story: Mexican American Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation.”
In three videos, Butler discusses immigrants’ history of self-employment in the U.S., Americans’ views on immigrant entrepreneurship and his views on citizenship and naturalization.
- Video 1: Butler discusses immigrants’ history of self-employment in the United States.
- Video 2: Butler discusses why Americans don’t celebrate or discuss immigrant entrepreneurship more.
- Video 3: Butler suggests giving citizenship to anyone already in the country — but also teaching them English and how to be an American.
Part 6: Veronica Vargas Stidvent
Veronica Vargas Stidvent, program director and faculty member in the Department of Business, Government and Society in the McCombs School of Business, served as assistant labor secretary in the George W. Bush administration. She worked on an array of labor issues including immigration reform, worker health and safety, and job training.
In three videos, Stidvent discusses why the traditional left-right political breakdown doesn’t apply on immigration issues, the impact of undocumented workers on unemployment, and the influence and reform of birthright citizenship in U.S.
- Video 1: Stidvent discusses why the traditional left-right political breakdown doesn’t apply on immigration issues and how the unusual alliances make reform difficult.
- Video 2: Stidvent discusses the impact of undocumented workers on unemployment.
- Video 3: Stidvent discusses the potential effects of eliminating birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants.
Part 5: Ricardo Ainslie
Ricardo Ainslie, a professor of educational psychology, studies the effects of ethnic conflicts on communities and the psychological experiences of immigrants. He produced the documentary “Ya Basta! Kidnapped in Mexico,” which investigates a wave of kidnappings and violent crime that has plagued Mexico during the past decade.
In three videos, Ainslie discusses the psychological factors that have contributed to support for the Arizona immigration law, Mexican immigrants and the impact their departure has on Mexico, and how an ethnic shift in a West Texas town has created conflict and offered lessons.
- Video 1: Ainslie discusses the psychological factors that contribute to support for the Arizona immigration law.
- Video 2: Ainslie discusses the surprising characteristics of many Mexican immigrants and the impact their departure has on Mexico.
- Video 3: Ainslie discusses how residents of a small West Texas border town deal with ethnic shift and the lessons they offer for the nation.
Part 4: Barbara Hines
Barbara Hines is the director of the Immigration Clinic and a clinical professor at the School of Law. She has litigated and written about issues relating to the constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants in federal and immigration courts.
In three videos, Hines discusses the legal, economic and social problems with Arizona’s new law, the post-9/11 immigration enforcement model and her belief that we should move toward legalization and a temporary worker program.
- Video 1: Hines discusses what she sees as the legal, economic and social problems with Arizona’s new law.
- Video 2: Hines discusses the immigration enforcement model that has developed in recent years, especially after the 9/11 attacks.
- Video 3: Hines discusses her belief that we need to move toward legalization and a temporary worker program.
Part 3: Madeline Hsu
Madeline Hsu, associate professor of history and director of the Center for Asian American Studies, researches Chinese migration to North America and the intersection of immigration law and U.S. foreign policy.
In three videos, Hsu discusses Chinese immigrants and the first U.S. immigration laws, how early Chinese immigrants posed as Mexicans to enter the U.S. and how race is used to identify illegal immigrants.
- Video 1: Hsu discusses the first U.S. immigration laws, aimed at Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century.
- Video 2: Hsu discusses early Chinese immigrants who dressed as Mexicans to cross the U.S.-Mexican border illegally.
- Video 3: Hsu discusses the use of race in identifying illegal immigrants.
Part 2: Mercedes De Uriarte
Mercedes De Uriarte, an associate professor of journalism, is a former opinion editor and staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, where she covered Latin American issues extensively. As a professor, she has developed programs to teach students to cover underrepresented communities and taught such courses as Social Justice and the Press and U.S. International Crisis Coverage.
In three videos, De Uriarte discusses Arizona’s immigration law, NAFTA’S impact on life in Mexico and the media’s shortcomings in covering the immigration debate.
- Video 1: De Uriarte discusses how the Arizona law fits into the historical cycle of U.S. immigration policy.
- Video 2: De Uriarte discusses NAFTA’S impact on Mexican life and the flow of immigrants.
- Video 3: De Uriarte discusses the media’s shortcomings in covering the immigration debate.
Part 1: Cecilia Balli
Cecilia Balli, an anthropology professor, studies the sexual murder of women in Ciudad Juárez, the construction of a border fence and the Mexican anti-drug campaign. She is an award-winning journalist with Texas Monthly magazine and is working on a book about the border fence in the Rio Grande Valley.
In three videos, Balli discusses the complicated relationship between the U.S. and Mexican governments and recent economic, social and political forces that have contributed to the current climate along the border.
- Video 1: Balli discusses the forces that have brought immigration, violence and enforcement issues to a head this year.
- Video 2: Balli discusses how the U.S. and Mexican governments are united — but also divided — over immigration and border enforcement.
- Video 3: Balli discusses the new models of Mexican manhood and how they contribute to violence.
Go to texasmonthly.com to see a special multimedia feature that asks Texans from all walks of life how immigration affects them, listen to audio excerpts from a roundtable discussion on the hottest debate going, browse related articles from our vast archive spanning three decades, and join the discussion in our dedicated forum.
By the numbers
- Mexican nationals legally in the U.S.: 1,850,000
- Undocumented Mexican workers in the U.S.: 7,602,000 (estimated)
- Undocumented immigrants deported each year: 350,000 (in 2009)
- Length of U.S.-Mexico border: 1,969 miles
- Number of legal crossing points along the border: 42
- Yearly federal budget for border enforcement: $55,115,227
- Yearly economic contributions by immigrants to U.S. economy: $37 billion (estimated)
- Yearly remittances sent by workers back to Mexico each year: $23 billion (estimated)
Sources: ICE, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Department of Homeland Security, President’s Council of Economic Advisors, Pew Hispanic Center
“Border Views” identity graphics:
- Suloni Robertson, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, College of Liberal Arts
Photos for “Border Views” promo graphics:
- No trespassing sign at the U.S.-Mexico border.
- U.S.-Mexico barrier at Tijuana pedestrian border crossing
- Tijuana-San Diego border deaths
- TJ Border
- Mexican border at Nogales, Ariz.
- U.S.-Mexico border
- El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
- The Mexican Border