Know your enemy: How repatriated unauthorized migrants learn about and perceive anti-immigrant mobilization in the United States

Matthew Ward, Daniel E. Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently scholars have turned their attention towards a growing anti-immigrant movement in the United States. In particular, residents called 'minutemen' have gar-nered attention for their vigilante patrols of the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, there re-mains an absence of rigorously collected data from the unauthorized migrants they target. Filling this void, we draw on original survey data from Wave 1 of the Migrant Border Crossing Study (MBCS) and address three questions: Among repatriated unau-thorized migrants who have heard of minutemen, from where do they get their in-formation? What qualities or characteristics do unauthorized repatriated migrants ascribe to minutemen? And, finally, how closely do these perceptions align with common tropes about minutemen? In so doing, we detail the composition of repatri-ated unauthorized migrants' knowledge networks and the role these played in diffus-ing knowledge about minutemen. Additionally, we illuminate differences in the con-tent of the minuteman-related information these networks diffuse. We find that re-spondents relied heavily on media outlets in the United States and Mexico to obtain information about minutemen. Social networks and the crossing experience itself mat-tered to a much lesser extent. Interestingly, repatriated unauthorized migrants were mixed in their perceptions of exactly who minutemen were, and migrants varied great-ly in their reliance upon dominant tropes to identify minutemen. We conclude with implications and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalMigration Letters
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anti-immigrant
  • Migrant
  • Migration
  • Nativism
  • Unauthorized

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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