Migrant Border Crossing Study MBCS

Migrant Border Crossing Study (MBCS)

Download the Full Report Here: 

(Web Version)(Español)

Versión en español para imprimir


This bi-national, interdisciplinary study funded by the Ford Foundation seeks to produce generalizeable information about what it is like to cross the border without papers, be apprehended by U.S. authorities and then deported to Mexico. During 2011 and 2012 we interviewed over 1,000 recently deported migrants in Tijuana and Mexicali, Baja California; Nogales, Sonora; Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua; Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and Mexico City during the summer aerial repatriation program. While the research involved a mixed methods approach, the main focus was an in-depth survey about deportees’ experiences with violence. Each Survey consisted of 250 questions and each face-to-face interview lasted approximately 45 minutes. We randomly sampled among recently repatriated migrants in shelters and near ports of entry, directly asking people if they would be willing to participate rather than soliciting volunteers. We only interviewed people eighteen years of age or older who had crossed without legal documents sometime after September 11th, 2001 and were deported the month prior to the interview. Our goal is to provide information that currently does not exist about border enforcement practices and what people go through as they try to cross into the U.S. in a way that will inform scholarly, policy and activist debates.
General Research Questions
• Who are the more than 400,000 people deported to Mexico each year?
• What do they experience in their journeys?
• How do immigration enforcement programs work, and are there notable differences between authorities’ stated practices and people’s experiences?
• What are the standard practices and potential impacts of expensive immigration enforcement programs?

Project Leadership

Jeremy Slack

Daniel E. Martínez

Scott Whiteford

Check us out on facebook!


Martinez, D; Slack, J. 2013. What part of illegal DO you understand? The Social Consequences of Criminalizing Unauthorized Mexican Migrants in the United States. Social and Legal Studies.

Slack, J; Martinez, D. 2011. Migration and the Production of (In)security on the U.S. Mexico Border. Sonarida. Vol 29. (In English and Spanish)

Slack, J; Whiteford, S. 2011. Viajes Violentos: La transformación de la migración clandestina hacia Sonora y Arizona. Norteamérica: revista académica del CISAN-UNAM, Vol. 5, No. 2.

Slack, J; Whiteford, S. 2011. Migration and Violence on the Arizona Sonora Border. Human Organization. Vol 70. No. 1.

Slack, J; Martinez, D; Vandervoet, P. 2011. Methods of Violence: Researcher Safety and Adaptability in Times of Conflict. Vol 33. No 1.

Related Topic(s):