Integration in Different Family Structures

By Maria Teresa Nagel, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
When it comes to migration, broad classifications are abundant. Refugees and migrants are often seen as a monolithic mass, which encourages policy makers to essentialize migration as they search for the single solution to this complex phenomenon. Nowhere is this truer than in Tijuana, Mexico, the location of our study. There and elsewhere, immigrants are thought to be driven by the same motivations, threatened by the same risks, and in need of the same remedies. In this essay, I aim to highlight some key differences in the experiences of Central American migrants in Tijuana, focusing on the impact family structure has on migrants’ experiences living in that city.

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Learning to Live in Limbo

By Maria Teresa Nagel, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Starting in 2018, Central American migrants attempting to enter the United States have encountered a series of obstacles which have forced them to consider a longer stay in Tijuana, a circumstance which presents new and unanticipated challenges. This essay explores the new realities faced by Central American migrants, whose journeys were expected to end in the United States, but who have instead had their own odyssey truncated and paused indefinitely in Tijuana, Mexico.

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Origins and Outcomes: Migrant Integration in Uganda

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
In the United States, the postal code of one’s birthplace predicts more about one’s future than nearly any other factor. While interviewing refugees in Kampala and Bidi Bidi Camp, I found a parallel observation in which specific details of a refugee’s origin could predict their outcomes, particularly economic and locational outcomes. Refugees from similar places of origin tend to settle in similar locales. While this finding may be obvious to refugees and development organizations, the deterministic elements of a refugee’s place of origin do not seem to influence programming in the Uganda refugee context.

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Shifting Roles in Refugee Livelihoods

By Catherine Wanjala, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
During displacement, families are jolted into new realities. From navigating new foods and new educational opportunities to negotiating a maze of new customs, displaced households struggle to master their unfamiliar surroundings. Opportunities to earn a living also greatly differed from what refugees and migrants had available to them in their countries of origin. Refugees often found these new realities also shifted roles within the family.

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What Lies Ahead? Navigating New Insecurities in Displacement

By Catherine Wanjala, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Uganda’s 1.4 million refugees have trekked into the country, fleeing violence and conflict in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, and other regional neighbors. They came to Uganda sometimes intentionally, sometimes merely following the crowd, but all looking for peace. Through in-depth interviews with 30 refugees in Kampala in August 2019, we found that many urban refugees have found only partial peace, continuing to confront insecurity in displacement. Their experiences and fears of violence are limiting their livelihoods opportunities, their interest in integration, and even their willingness to send their children to school.

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Putting Pieces in Place

By Ella Duncan, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. New arrivals to America must navigate ongoing identification of what American norms are and make decisions about which norms to embrace, which to merge into previously held norms, and which to discard as a poor fit. Financial norms hold a special place of importance. Deciding how to manage finances in America is directly related to the ability to provide for the well-being of oneself, one’s family, and one’s community. In a series of interviews in the fall of 2019, three Burundian immigrants in southern Maine shared their creative approaches to managing American finances.

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Researching Haitian Migrants as a Haitian Researcher

By Tania Smith, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. By the time I received approval to research the integration strategies of Haitian migrants living in Tijuana, they had already been covered extensively by the media. As a Haitian–American who was raised in Haiti, I knew that I would be able to process and understand nuances that other researchers and journalists could not. I am a fluent French and Haitian Creole speaker with innate knowledge of Haitian culture. My expectations for myself were high. I assumed that I would arrive in Tijuana and immediately be able to fit in and connect with the migrants. I assumed that because I was a “compatriot,” Haitians would be ready and willing to interview with me and I would be welcomed into their community with open arms. I was wrong.

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