Voices of the Border

cover art
272 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647120849 (1647120845)

July 2021


Table of Contents

Voices of the Border
Testimonios of Migration, Deportation, and Asylum
Tobin Hansen and María Engracia Robles Robles, ME, Editors
Foreword by Sean Carroll, SJ

Powerful personal accounts from migrants crossing the US-Mexico border provide an understanding of their experiences, as well as the consequences of public policy 

Migrants, refugees, and deportees live through harrowing situations, yet their personal stories are often ignored. While politicians and commentators mischaracterize and demonize, herald border crises, and speculate about who people are and how they live, the actual memories of migrants are rarely shared. In the tradition of oral storytelling, Voices of the Border reproduces the stories migrants have told, offering a window onto both individual and shared experiences of crossing the US-Mexico border.

This collection emerged from interviews conducted by the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a Jesuit organization that provides humanitarian assistance and advocates for migrants. Based in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora—twin border cities connected by shared histories, geographies, economies, and cultures—the editors and their colleagues documented migrants' testimonios to amplify their voices. These personal narratives of lived experiences, presented in the original Spanish with English translations, bring us closer to these individuals' strength, love, and courage in the face of hardship and injustice. Short introductions written by migrant advocates, humanitarian workers, religious leaders, and scholars provide additional context at the beginning of each chapter.

These powerful stories help readers better understand migrants' experiences, as well as the consequences of public policy for their community.

Royalties from the sale of the book go to the Kino Border Initiative.

Tobin Hansen is an instructor of anthropology at the University of Oregon. His research examines migration and deportation, race, masculinities, care, borders, prisons, and gangs. He is a volunteer at the Kino Border Initiative.

María Engracia Robles Robles is a Missionary Sister of the Eucharist and education coordinator at the Kino Border Initiative. She is the author of Las últimas serán las primeras: El discipulado de las mujeres en los Evangelios.

Sean Carroll, SJ, is the executive director of the Kino Border Initiative.

"There is a reason why Jesus taught in parables. Stories can move hearts in a way that arguments, definitions and statistics cannot. This remarkable new book of testimonies from migrants, along with commentary from those who work with them, paints a vivid portrait of the human condition. These stories, by turns heartbreaking, infuriating and moving, will enable readers to see migrants in a new way, as they come to know them not simply as a political issue but as human beings with rich and complicated lives-like all of us. Open this book and encounter some contemporary parables. And then let your heart be opened."—James Martin, SJ , author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage

"Voices of the Border springs from the exemplary witness and work of the binational Kino Border Initiative. The volume's insightful framing essays and testimonios contextualize the complex issue of migration, offer a powerful counternarrative to demonizing misconceptions, and—most significantly—center migrants' own voices. Its thematic approach and accessible prose make the dynamic and informative volume valuable for use with undergraduate and graduate courses, immersion trips, or civic and religious groups."—Kristin E. Heyer, professor of theological ethics, Boston College

"A moving portrayal of immigrant struggles, hopes, and determination. These powerful testimonios lift up the voices and stories of 'the forgotten people' demanding to be heard. A labor of love and social justice, the authors legitimize the lives lived while asking readers to engage in our shared humanity."—Susana Rivera-Mills, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ball State University

"Voices of the Border masterfully interweaves the powerful testimonios of migrants at the Sonora-Arizona border with the literatures on immigration, border enforcement, immigrant criminalization, and Latin American history. The editors and contributors place the humanity and dignity of the lives of those with whom they spoke at the forefront of the volume. Voices of the Border is a must-read for immigration scholars, activists, policymakers, and members of faith-based organizations."—Daniel E. Martínez , associate professor of sociology and codirector of the Binational Migration Institute, University of Arizona

Table of Contents
Fr. Sean Carroll

Tobin Hansen

1. Testimonios from Nogales
Tobin Hansen

2. Wealth Inequality, Economic Insecurity, and Economic Migration
Tobin Hansen

3. Violence and Maras in the Context of Immigration
Jorge A. Andrade Galindo

4. Gendered Violence
Cecilia Guadalupe Espinoza Martínez

5. Separated from Family
María Engracia Robles Robles

6. Clandestine Border Crossings
David Hill

7. Abuses by Government
Joanna Williams

8. Mexico as the New Southern US Border
Marla Conrad and Jorge A. Andrade Galindo

9. Deporting through Crime and Race
Tobin Hansen

10. Deported from Home
Tobin Hansen

11. Dismantling Access to Asylum
Joanna Williams

12. Spiritual Life
Fr. Samuel Lozano de los Santos

13. Valuing Voices
Tobin Hansen



List of Contributors


Marla Conrad, Cecilia Guadalupe Espinosa Martínez, Jorge A. Andrade Galindo, Tobin Hansen, David Hill, María Engracia Robles Robles, Fr. Samuel Lozano de los Santos, Joanna Williams