Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences and Globalization


Social Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Kevin, Grisham


For this thesis project, the research question will be the following: “How do United States immigration policies contribute to the rising death and deportations of migrants across the United States and Mexico border?” Immigration policies is a widely debated political topic and often used as a but public debate often neglects to thoroughly consider the effects on the everyday lives of immigrants and their communities. It is essential to further research into immigration policies, their impacts on migrant communities and the implications for human rights. This research is intended to extend the understanding how the militarization of the border has led to an increase of deaths and deportations, as detailed in the immigration policy Prevention Through Deterrence. The hypothesis of this research is that United States immigration policies neglect basic human rights, contribute to rising deaths across the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, and criminalization of undocumented immigrants.

Militarization of the border in city and entry ports has led to a rise of illegal entry through the Arizona desert terrains. Postponing legal entry and denying asylum to individuals increases the chances of illegal crossings. Deterring undocumented immigrants to harsh terrains contributes to the rise in deaths. Immigrants that are caught are documented and deported as criminals, which then forbids them from obtaining citizenship or asylum in the future. I would like to shine light on the violent border policies, to help find a more humane solution to protect the bored without breaching the rights of undocumented immigrants.

As a daughter of immigrant parents, I can relate to most of the difficulties migrant families face. I became interested in this, because I wanted to get a better understanding of how these policies contribute to the violations against human rights and deaths. Policies such as the North American Free Trade and Prevention Through Deterrence Agreement have an impact on migration. Based on migration patterns policies are developed by the United States that enforce the United States-Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings.

Based on the research, I was able to find that immigration policies are influenced by racist ideologies and stereotypes, which dehumanizes undocumented immigrants. The establishment of these policies are used to protect the border regardless of the effects it will have on undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants suffer the consequences of the policies that contribute to financial instability, crime, in their home country, which influences migration from Mexico to the United States. Overall, research provides data that shows the increase of deaths along the Southern border, and human rights breaches without accountability.