“Es Muy Tranquilo Aquí”: Perceptions of Safety and Calm among Binationally Mobile Mexican Immigrants in a Rural Border Community

Rebecca M. Crocker, Karina Duenas, Luis Vázquez, Maia Ingram, Felina M. Cordova-Marks, Emma Torres, Scott Carvajal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Perceptions of community can play an important role in determining health and well-being. We know little, however, about residents’ perceptions of community safety in the Southwestern borderlands, an area frequently portrayed as plagued by disorder. The qualitative aim of this community-based participatory research study was to explore the perceptions of Mexican-origin border residents about their communities in southern Yuma County, Arizona. Our team of University of Arizona researchers and staff from Campesinos Sin Fronteras, a grassroots farmworker support agency in Yuma County, Arizona, developed a bilingual interview guide and recruited participants through radio adds, flyers, and cold calls among existing agency clientele. Thirty individual interviews with participants of Mexican origin who live in and/or work in rural Yuma County were conducted remotely in 2021. Participants overwhelmingly perceived their communities as both calm and safe. While some participants mentioned safety concerns, the vast majority described high levels of personal security and credited both neighbors and police for ensuring local safety. These perceptions were stated in direct contrast to those across the border, where participants had positive familial and cultural ties but negative perceptions regarding widespread violence. In conclusion, we argue that to understand environmental factors affecting health and well-being in Mexican immigrant populations, it is critical to examine the role of binational external referents that color community perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8399
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume19
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Mexican immigrants
  • U.S.-Mexico borderlands
  • binational
  • community perceptions
  • external referents
  • safety
  • violence
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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