“There’s (Not) an App for That”: Taking a Hard Look at the “App-ification” of Migration and the “Need” for New Technologies

By Madison Chapman, under the supervision of Kim Wilson Practitioners, advocates and writers often underscore the link between migration and

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A Shared Universe (for Most): Ecosystems in Public Spaces and Migrant Livelihoods

By Madison Chapman, under the supervision of Kim Wilson Two young Colombian women sit next to a small iron pushcart

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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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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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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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Gaps in Policies, Chasms for Refugees

By Devang Shah, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
An open-door policy, free primary education, health care, monthly rations and cash. Sounds like a perfect policy recipe for integration of refugees with their local communities. However, for more than twenty years since Kebri Beyah camp was established, refugees living there are still financially unstable and far from integration. Why are the steps taken by various governmental and non-governmental organisations still proving ineffective? This essay attempts to answer this question by diving into the chasm between policy making and policy implementation for the case of the Somali region in Ethiopia. We will analyze which policies, programs, and initiatives have worked, which have not, and why.

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The Impact of Volunteer Employment on Migrant Outcomes: Ugandan Perspective

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Formal employment opportunities are limited in Uganda’s economy, especially for migrants and refugees. Considering these barriers, “volunteer” jobs represent a crucial vehicle for migrants to gain new skills, build their networks, gain access to future opportunities, and even earn reasonable wages. This essay seeks to show the importance of volunteer positions for migrants, how these opportunities differ between Kampala and the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, and whether these volunteer opportunities are privileging specific demographic groups.

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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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