The Real Crisis at the Mexico-U.S. Border: A Humanitarian and Not an Immigration Emergency

Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Misguided U.S. policies since 1980 have created a large undocumented population within the United States. Border militarization curtailed circular undocumented migration from Mexico, and Cold War politics precluded the acceptance of refugees from Central America fleeing violence and economic turmoil unleashed by America’s intervention in the region. Although undocumented migration from Mexico has ended, resources devoted to border apprehensions and internal deportations continue to rise, pushing an ever larger number of Central Americans into an immigrant detention system that is ill-equipped to handle them. Although the Trump administration portrays the situation as an immigration crisis, what is really unfolding along the border and within the United States is an unprecedented humanitarian cross that in so many ways is one of our own making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-805
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Trump
  • economic instability
  • humanitarianism
  • immigration
  • policy
  • xenophobia


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