Syrian refugee camp in the outskirts of Athens



Immigration policy under the Trump administration caused tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait for their court proceeding under horrific conditions in Mexico. More recently, while most Trump-era policies have been rolled back, thousands of migrants still arrive at the US/Mexico border and unaccompanied minors are filling detention centers in the US.

This theme aims to provide research and policy expertise to support children and families arriving at the US-Mexico border. Humanitarian Collaborative faculty are working with Project Adelante and community partners to address these challenges.

Our achievements under this thematic area are considerable, ranging from MOUs with UNICEF Innocenti, new research on climate change and heat, and technical support for an upcoming documentary on migration and forced displacement.


Migration is among the central domestic and global political issues of today. Yet the causes and consequences – and the relationship between migration and global markets – are poorly understood. Migration is both costly and risky, so why do people decide to migrate? What are the political, social, economic, and environmental factors that cause people to leave their homes and seek a better life elsewhere?

Leblang and Helms argue that political factors – the ability to participate in the political life of a destination – are as important as economic and social factors. Most migrants don’t cut ties with their homeland but continue to be engaged, both economically and politically. Migrants continue to serve as a conduit for information, helping drive investment to their homelands. The authors combine theory with a wealth of micro and macro evidence to demonstrate that migration isn’t static, after all, but continuously fluid.


The Humanitarian Collaborative is excited to support a new project in partnership with affiliate Micheline Marcom and the New American Story Project (NASP), a visual storytelling project exploring the forces of migration and the lives of new Americans. The project, Forgotten Migrants, focuses on Haitians who have fled their home country and have attempted to enter the US in search of refuge. The project’s multimedia constellation of stories connects firsthand immigrant testimonies to the insights of lawyers, activists, historians, artists, and others to illuminate the many aspects of the current exodus from Haiti. Partnerships with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies and the Welcome With Dignity Campaign will help bring these stories to the US public. The HC and NASP teams believe that human stories can illuminate different perspectives and have the potential to bring about a deeper understanding of the complexity of immigration and migration worldwide. 


One Practitioner Fellow working with the Humanitarian Collaborative, ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Save the Children, and others raised $240,000 to produce a documentary on children experiencing forced displacement in two regions: U.S./Mexico and Ukraine/Poland.


In her class on the U.S./Mexico border, Professor Lucy Bassett introduced a storytelling project to help students explore the human consequences of immigration policy.

Telling the Whole Story: Batten Students Tackle the Border Crisis from a New Angle

This Global Life: El Salvador podcast by Lauren Ott
Family Separation – collage by Cece Hohman
Border – collage by Maggie Matthews
Asylum – narrative by Gabby Cox
Border – short story by Ben Kava
Tried & True – collage by Christine Jarman
Holocaust – poem by Grant Campion


This qualitative research study describes the experience of children and families in a tent encampment in Matamoros, Mexico and recommends strategies to support women, children and families living in this camp and elsewhere along the border.


Network Agency: An Agent-based Model of Forced Migration from Ukraine, AAMAS, February 2024

A Generalizable Theory-Driven Agent-Based Framework to Study Conflict-Induced Forced Migration, AAAI, February 2024

Evidence on Child Migration and Displacement, UNICEF Innocenti Conference, January 2024

Are Orderly Borders Possible in an Era of Rising Climate Migration? Changing Climate, Changing Migration podcast episode, April 2023

Health and safety concerns of female asylum seekers living in an informal migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, Journal of Advanced Nursing, November 2022

Rural Poverty, Climate Change, and Family Migration from Guatemala, Brookings Institution, Future Development Blog, April 2022

How Resettling Afghan Refugees Might Help Afghanistan’s Future, The Washington Post, August 2021

Climate, Violence, and Honduran Migration to the United States, Brookings Institution, Future Development Blog, April 2021,

Psychosocial Support Interventions in the Context of Forced Displacement: Process and Findings from a Systematic Review of the Global Literature, GIZ, February 2021

Psychosocial Support Interventions in the Context of Displacement: Recommendations for Practice, Research, and Policy from a Review of the Global Literature, GIZ, February 2021

‘Deal with the root causes’: Harris visits U.S.-Mexico border after months of pressure on immigration, June 2021

Violence at the Border: Helping migrants and asylum seekers recover from trauma while they await entry to the US, May 2021

Report on US-Mexico Border Conditions for Women and Children, April 2020

Q&A: Bruce Springsteen Spotlights Professor’s Nonprofit Work at the Border, February 2020

Winter Cold Brings New Challenges to Asylum Seekers Living in Matamoros, Mexico, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2019