Our research confronts the dehumanizing impacts of the US immigration system for people from Mexico, Central America and all over the world.

Since 2018, we have worked at the US-Mexico border.

Scroll down to learn more and for links to publications & white papers.

Asylum Crisis at the Border


Based on more than 230 in-depth interviews and surveys with asylum seekers in Tijuana and in immigration detention, we examine how current US asylum policies affect families on the front lines of the asylum crisis at the US-Mexico border. The data are used to co-design programs to meet asylum seekers’ basic needs, allow for joy in a space of struggle, and effectively disseminate information on US asylum.

Partners 2020-2022: Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab, Templo Embajadores de Jesus, Espacio Migrante

Related Publications & Reports:



Based on participant observation and more than 150 in-depth interviews with deported men and women in Tijuana, we examine the implications of deportation for families and the ways that people who are “banished” resist.

Partners: Casa del Migrante Tijuana, Casa Madre Assunta, Padre Chava, Otros Dreamers en Acción, Puente TJ United

Related Publications & Reports:

Binational Education & Student Inclusion


In 2021, the MMFRP partnered with on-campus equity organizations to understand how UCSD could improve Latinx student inclusion.

From 2016-2020 the MMFRP conducted original research to understand the opportunities and challenges facing binational youth in the San Diego-Tijuana border region. We surveyed 400 high school classrooms in San Diego and Tijuana, supplemented by interviews and focus groups. The data have been used to identify ideas to help students succeed and rapidly prototype programs to support youth.

This project was run by Melissa Floca, former Associate Director of the UCSD Center for US-Mexican Studies.

Mexico-US Migration


From 2004-2015 the MMFRP conducted rotating surveys in three migrant-sending communities in Mexico: one in the state of Oaxaca, one in the Yucatán, and one in Jalisco. The team also surveyed migrants from these communities who lived in the United States. These rich case studies and data allowed our team to examine the reasons people migrate, both legally and in an unauthorized manner, and how migration was affected by border enforcement and deportation.

This work resulted in fourteen books and special journal issues as well as dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals and public policy studies. 

This project was run by Dr. Wayne Cornelius, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UCSD and founder of the MMFRP and Dr. David Fitzgerald, Professor of Sociology at UCSD.