Tensions remain in border communities

A study conducted by University of Arizona (UA) researchers between 2005 and 2007 indicated that permanent residents of the United States continue to face discrimination by authorities in communities close to the border between the US and Mexico. Almost one decade later, little appears to have changed.

The study manuscript’s lead author and College of Public Health assistant professor in the health promotion sciences department, Dr Samantha Sabo, says that since the study ended in 2007, more anti-immigration laws have been passed and that “things haven’t improved” in the last nine years.

The study, entitled Everyday Violence, Structural Racism and Mistreatment at the US-Mexico Border, was conducted with another UA faculty and focused on the health of immigrant farm workers living in the border region, including an examination of the border’s militarization with a focus on immigration-related violence and racial profiling.

While the study was being conducted, various new policies came into play, including one allowing members of the community to be questioned about their legal status by police officers. These policies, although aimed at undocumented immigrants, inevitably end up affecting permanent residents and citizens who are of Mexican descent. Sabo says the study focuses on people experiencing “everyday violence” solely because of their appearance.

In a different study, The Spillover of US Immigration Policy on Citizens and Permanent Residents of Mexican Descent, Sabo and co-author Alison Elizabeth Lee list a number of policy recommendations for the US government. These include the creation of a plan to allow the reporting of excessive use of force and corruption and a “transparent, community-centered oversight system to document and monitor immigration-related victimization.”