Unlike other immigration studies centers in the U.S., the Binational Migration Institute's (BMI) interdisciplinary focus has been shaped by the unavoidable issues in our own backyard, especially the ways in which immigration policies and practices impact the lives of hundreds-of-thousands of migrants and Arizona residents.
Arizona has the most active migratory transit, the most militarized, and most deadly border area in the U.S. This harsh and complicated situation has profound consequences for the state, the nation, and U.S. relations with Mexico.
Seminal research undertaken by BMI Founding Director Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, completed in 2003, and research from experts at other U.S. universities has clearly demonstrated why any serious investigation of immigration enforcement practices must encompass Latino citizens and legal residents of the U.S. as well as undocumented migrants.
This scientifically rigorous work shows, for instance, that a startling percentage of South Tucson’s Latino citizens and legal residents reported some type of legal, verbal, or physical mistreatment by immigration authorities. It is equally important that another BMI pilot study completed in 2004 found that immigration enforcement policies can have serious, negative consequences for immigration officials themselves, ranging from Border Patrol agents to immigration judges.