Binational Migration Institute

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Daniel E. Martinez 

Anna Ochoa O'Leary, Ph.D.

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Unlike other U.S. immigration studies centers, the Binational Migration Institute's (BMI) interdisciplinary focus has been shaped by the unavoidable issues in our own backyard, especially the ways in which immigration policies and practices impact the lives of hundreds-of-thousands of migrants and Arizona residents.

Arizona has the most active migratory transit, the most militarized, and most deadly border area in the U.S.

This harsh and complicated situation has profound consequences for the state, the nation, and U.S. relations with Mexico. The University of Arizona’s Dept of Mexican American Studies (MAS) has, therefore, established the Binational Migration Institute (BMI).

Seminal research undertaken by BMI Coordinator Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith (MAS Adjunct Professor, completed in 2003, and experts from other U.S. universities has clearly demonstrated why any serious investigation of immigration enforcement practices must encompass Latino citizens and legal residents of the U.S. as well as undocumented migrants.

This scientifically rigorous work shows, for instance, that a startling percentage of South Tucson’s Latino citizens and legal residents reported some type of legal, verbal, or physical mistreatment by immigration authorities. It is equally important that another BMI pilot study completed in 2004 found that immigration enforcement policies can have serious, negative consequences for immigration officials themselves (ranging from Border Patrol agents to immigration judges).



  • The production and dissemination of scientific data on how the implementation & enforcement of U.S. and Mexican immigration policies impact all Latinos, particularly in terms of constitutional, civil, and human rights as well as public health, and the migration process;
  • The generation of policy relevant recommendations based on valid and reliable knowledge;
  • To respond to community research needs;
  • To mentor and train students in rigorous evidence-based research on immigration and binational collaboration.

BMI's Ongoing Research Projects

Sponsored by the National Institute of Occupational and Safety Health (NIOSH)


Sponsored by Fulbright Garcia-Robles


Sponsored by the Programa de Investigación de Migración y Salud.


Sponsored by US-UofA-DHS Center of Excellence



Partially supported by the Ford Foundation