Department of Sociology

Workshop: "Contested Terrain: Undocumented Migration and Enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico Border"

Mon, October 10, 2011 | 2nd Floor Conference Room, Benson Latin American Collection, SRH Unit 1

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The contemporary period continues to witness dramatic and deadly developments at the U.S.-Mexico border. Unauthorized migration attempts have dropped sharply in the last few years, but the actual numbers of unauthorized border crossings remain in the hundreds of thousands annually. U.S. government responses have included doubling the size of the Border Patrol to almost twenty thousand, increasing the prosecution of migrants, and spending billions of dollars in constructing a fence/wall across hundreds of miles on the border, in addition to installing new control technology of the Secure Border Initiative.

Researchers participating in the workshop will address the impacts of heightened border enforcement on local communities, responses of Mexican migrants to increased enforcement, local reactions to the construction of the border fence/wall, and Mexican government responses to migration-related events at the northern Mexican border.

For more information, contact Paloma Diaz at 512.232.2415 or

Sponsored by LLILAS and Mexican Center with support from the Department of Sociology,  The Population Research Center, The Benson Latin American Collection, The Center for Mexican American Studies and the C. B. Smith, Sr. Centennial Chair in United States-Mexico Relation.


PANEL 1. New U.S. Enforcement Strategy and Perspectives from Mexico
Moderator: Nestor Rodriguez

10:00-Welcoming and Opening Remarks and Introductions (Professors B. Roberts, N. Rodriguez, and C. Hale)

10:15-11:15 AM—Timothy J. Dunn, “Blockading the Border: Impacts and Responses in a Local Community"


11:30 AM-12:30 PM—Rene Zenteno, "Research and Mexican Policy Perspectives on Migration at the Mexico-United States Border"

PANEL 2. Barricading the Border and Clandestine Crossings
Moderator: Bryan Roberts

1:30-2:30 PM—Jennifer Correa, "The Secure Fence Act: Constructing the Border Fence and Community Reactions”

2:30-2:45 PM—Break

2:45-3:45 PM—David Spener, “Coyotaje: Clandestine Crossings at the Texas-Mexico Border”

• Jennifer Correa, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Professor Correa has conducted extensive dissertation research investigating the construction of a U.S. Border fence/wall under the Secure Fence Act and community responses

•Timothy J. Dunn, Professor, Sociology, Salisbury University, Maryland
Professor Dunn is author of books on U.S. Border enforcement, including Blockading the Border and Human Rights: The El Paso Operation that Remade Immigration Enforcement (2009, University of Texas Press).

• Bryan Roberts, Professor, C.B. Smith, Sr., Chair on U.S.-Mexico Relations, Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin
Professor Roberts is author of numerous books and other works focusing on migration, urbanization and other social developments in many Latin American countries; his current research includes a study of forced and voluntary return migration to Mexico (Jalisco) and Central America

• Nestor Rodriguez, Professor, Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin
Professor Rodriguez is author of works focusing on Mexican and Central American migration and U.S. Deportations; his current research includes investing impacts of U.S. Deportations to Mexico and Central America

•David Spener, Professor, Sociology, Trinity University, San Antonio
Professor Spener is author and editor of books and other works on the U.S.-Mexico border and NAFTA uneven development; his recent publications include Clandestine Crossings: Migrants and Coyotes on the Texas-Mexico Border (2009, Cornell University Press).

•Rene Zenteno, Undersecretary for Population, Migration, and Religious Affairs in Mexican Ministry of the Interior
Dr. Zenteno is a recent former Provost and Professor in sociology and demography at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, and author and editor of numerous books on Mexican migration and other social developments; among his recent works is the co-edited volume Poverty and Poverty Alleviation Strategies in North America (2009, Harvard University Press

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