Doing Research on Immigration? The University Libraries Have Resources

Library ResourcesFor anyone researching immigration, the University Libraries have many resources, from public policy papers and news articles (online and in print) to stories of immigrants and immigrant groups.

A display near the east entrance of the Library Concourse attempts to show the range of resources for studying the subject. Four posters together illustrate the message that immigration is far from a simple topic; insights come from areas as diverse as economics and religion, so we show a range of book and video covers, newspaper articles, and web sites.

Another aspect of immigration touches on Notre Dame's history. For a large window display outside the Library doors, we used both the Library and the University Archives to survey the contribution of immigrants to Notre Dame. The display gives only a hint of the rich immigrant heritage that has built up this University.

Notre Dame Immigration-Related Programs and Centers

The Higgins Labor Research Center

This center at the University of Notre Dame has as its central purpose the study of the economic and social consequences of different systems of work organization and the relationships between management and workers. It encompasses a range of scholarly disciplines, including law, sociology, psychology, economics, government and history. Current research activities explore, among other things, how social justice and economic equality relate to effective industrial and economic organization and how labor market institutions generate the cooperation in the workplace that is now generally recognized as essential for competitive success. The Higgins Center sets high scholarly standards and serves as a focus in the university for multi-disciplinary research and instruction in labor studies. It gives high priority to involving scholars from other universities and institutes, as well as business and labor organizations. Research addresses conceptual issues and their practical and policy applications and its teaching is designed to encompass both the theory and practice of labor relations and labor studies.

Migration and Border Studies

Migration and Border Studies is devoted to interdisciplinary research, scholarship, teaching, policy application, and community outreach related to transnational migration in the Americas. Transnational migration affects and is affected by economic, political, social, cultural, and religious processes and transformations. Understanding the complex causes and consequences of displacement in the Americas and applying research and scholarship to understanding and solving problems of migrants, immigrants, and concerned nation-states in the Americas are the unit’s mission. Migration and Border Studies is to be a center of interaction at the University of Notre Dame for faculty, staff, and students interested in transnational migration and immigration, governance, citizenship, human rights, identity, family, religion, and economic development in the Americas. Migration and Border Studies will teach and mentor students, direct student research, and collaborate with working groups, programs, and institutes across the University with complementary interests in transnational processes.

Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives (CMCI)

Immigrant Organizations Project

The nation has seen a tremendous increase in its immigrant communities. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of immigrants in the United States grew by forty percent. While the growth of the immigrant population is well documented, much less is known about the ways in which immigrant communities have organized themselves civically, economically and culturally. In particular, immigrant groups, organizations, and service providers play a central role in the migration process. Community based organizations (CBOs) offer various forms of support and information to newly arrived immigrants, provide social services related to the incorporation of immigrants, serve as advocates for their ethnic groups, and act as liaison between immigrant communities and their various countries and regions of origin.

Catholic Peacebuilding Network

Kroc Columbians

Displaced family in Colombia.
Photo by Mary DeLorey

CPN is a worldwide network of clergy and lay people, academics and practitioners involved in the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding. The CPN focuses primarily on three regions of the world — the Philippines, Central Africa, and Colombia. This last country should be of special interest to anyone interested in refugees, migration, and related topics.

Colombia has the world's second highest population of internally displaced people in the world (after Sudan)—more than 3 million. These individuals have been forced from their homes, often at gunpoint, because of violent clashes among government security forces, left-wing guerillas and right-wing paramilitaries. An estimated 13 percent of Colombia's rural population is now displaced. Among the displaced, one third are Afro-Colombians, more than half are women, and half are under age 15.

In June 2007, the CPN held a major conference in Colombia, sponsored by Colombian Church leaders there who are actively engaged in peace negotiations and work with people displaced by violence. The CPN website, especially the page on Colombia,, is a rich source of information, background papers, and other resources on this and related topics.

The Catholic Peacebuilding Network was formed by Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Catholic Relief Services, with the active involvement of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Maryknoll, the Center for International Social Development at the Catholic University of America, the Sant'Egidio Community in the United States, Pax Christi International and Georgetown University's Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. The Kroc Institute coordinates the network and maintains the website, and Jerry Powers is the point person on this at Notre Dame.

South Bend Faculty/Community Initiative

“Estimating the Economic Impact of Undocumented Workers and Their Families in the South Bend Area”
Kasey Buckles, Assistant Professor, Economics and Econometrics
Rev. Chris Cox, C.S.C., St. Adalbert’s Parish
Abigail Wozniak, Assistant Professor, Economics and Econometrics

Ganey Mini Grant

Kasey Buckles and Abigail Wozniak are partnering with Father Chris Cox and St. Adalbert’s Parish to investigate the impact that immigrants have had in South Bend, specifically on the local economy, and to determine the kind of economic impact that may result from a mass deportation of undocumented area residents. The team aims to identify an exhaustive list of transactions that undocumented immigrants and their families have with employers, government and charitable service providers, as well as suppliers of goods and services in the South Bend economy. They will also survey local undocumented families and individuals about income, spending and consumption patterns. The team plans to provide local leaders with an accessible report explaining their findings.

Notre Dame Alumni Working on Immigration and Human Trafficking

ND Graduate, Amy Braun, is an International Summer Service Learning Program

alumna. She is a Maryknoll Lay Missioner and works with an anti-trafficking NGO in Mae Sai, Thailand, a town that borders Burma and is a major crossing for trafficked persons from Burma to Thailand.

You can see where she works at Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities (DEPDC) and website:

DEPDC has a lot of experience and information on trafficking in Southeast Asia. Here is a description of DEPDC's work from their website:

"DEPDC is a non-profit community based NGO working in Thailand on the prevention side of the trafficking of women and children into the sex industry or other exploitative child labour situations. It offers free education, vocational training and full time accommodation for young girls and boys in an effort to achieve these goals.

As well as providing free permanent shelter and education DEPDC also runs several other projects and activities aimed at the prevention of trafficking and the provision of child rights in the region; emergency shelter for abused or abandoned children, care and repatriation for girls who have left commercial sex work, education for vulnerable children and teens outside of the formal education system, youth leadership education programme to combat trafficking in the Mekong Sub-Region and vocational and human rights training for undocumented migrants and indigenous peoples.

Since its inception, DEPDC has helped prevent thousands of children from the Mekong sub-region succumb to the sex industry or other exploitative child labour situations. These young children have received further schooling or vocational training as a good start to a healthy life."

Students who went to witness cases or meet victims of human trafficking:

Two Notre Dame International Summer Service Learning Program students in Thailand, Katie Dunn and Aimee-Rika Brewster, were briefed on the issue of human trafficking.

ND Alumnus, Sean Litton '97 JD, is currently vice president for interventions for International Justice Mission (IJM) and was just featured as the first recipient of the Notre Dame Law Association's inaugural St. Yves Award for devotion to social justice law. An article on the award and Sean's work can be found in ND Lawyer Spring 2007, pages 10-11. Sean was awarded for his work on human trafficking with IJM. See attached PDF of ND Lawyer issue.

ND Alumna, Bridgette Carr, recently returned to Notre Dame as associate clinical professor of law at Notre Dame. She works with the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic and was hired to work on immigration and human trafficking. Carr has experience in human trafficking cases in Michigan.

Notre Dame Faculty with Expertise on Immigration

Recommended Readings: Immigration-Related Publications


The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies

Anthony M. Messina

A political scientist and a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1999, Messina is a fellow in the University's Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.

Why have traditional immigrant-receiving states historically permitted high levels of immigration and to what degree can its political and social fallout be managed? University of Notre Dame political scientist Anthony M. Messina explores the disruptions. View the press release. []

Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit

Daniel G. Groody, CSC, '86 (Rowman & Littlefield)

Father Groody is an assistant professor of theology at Notre Dame and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the Center for Latino Studies.

Groody offers a spiritual narrative of Mexican immigrants who cross the border—their faith strong, their desperation deep. The author talked with immigration officials, "coyote" smugglers, immigrants in detention centers and those working in the fields. Views of God, family, values, suffering, faith and hope shine through the conversations.

Dan Groody's new edited collection on the theology of immigration is forthcoming with University of Notre Dame Press.

Migration and Vodou

Karen E. Richman

2005, 356 pp., ISBN: 0813028353 (University Press of Florida)

Karen E. Richman, the Institute for Latino Studies’ director of Migration and Border Studies, is a cultural anthropologist who studies religion, migration, transnationalism, performance, gender, production and consumption.

In this marvelous book, Richman masterfully pilots the reader through global, national, local, and personal levels of knowledge and experience. Detailed yet absorbing, documented yet seamless, scholarly yet accessible, the book reads as a fine wine should taste. — Robert Lawless, Dept. of Anthropology, Wichita State University

This intimate portrayal of Haitians in South Florida and Haiti illustrates the personal, economic, and social characteristics of Haiti’s diaspora. This book focuses on the life and times of a Haitian man referred to as Little Caterpillar, whom Richman first met “on a wretched farm labor camp in Tasley, Virginia.” The content of the book is largely based on cassette-letters sent back and forth between those in Haiti and those in the Haitian diaspora.

Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope

A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003), esp. chapter 2 “Reflections in the Light of the Word of God and Catholic Social Teaching,” #22-39 and chapter 4 “Public Policy Challenges and Responses,” #56-100.

Available at


Good Life of Boomers Tied to Better Life for Immigrants

May 15, 2007, article from the Wall Street Journal

“Beguiling Mysteries and Known Unknowns: The Research Challenges Posed by the Latino Experience” by Roberto Suro (PDF)

A thought-provoking paper on Latino immigration from the Institute for Latino Studies

Roberto Suro is director, Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C.; former foreign correspondent for Time magazine and the New York Times in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Suro is the author of Strangers Among Us: Latino Lives in a Changing America.

“A Theology of Immigration"

Notre Dame Magazine Autumn 2004

“….For the last 15 years I have been talking to those involved in the Mexican immigration drama. I have spoken to ranchers who have seen their property trashed by immigrants who parade through their land and leave behind water jugs, litter and discarded clothing….. I have spoken to immigrants and heard hundreds of stories of what it is like to break from home, cross the border and enter the United States as an undocumented immigrant….” –By Daniel Groody, CSC, '86

Andrew M. Yuengert, “Catholic Social Teaching on the Economics of Immigration,” Journal of Markets & Morality 3:1 (Spring 2000). Available at:

Richard B. Freeman, “People Flows in Globalization.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20:2 (Spring 2006): 145-170. Available at: Freeman JEP People Flows Spring 2006.pdf

Cardinal Roger Mahony, “Immigration, the American Economy and the Constitution,” Origins 37:3 (8 May 2007): 33-37 (text for annual John M. Templeton Jr. Lecture on the Constitution and Economic Liberties).

Available at:

Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003), esp. chapter 2 “Reflections in the Light of the Word of God and Catholic Social Teaching,” #22-39 and chapter 4 “Public Policy Challenges and Responses,” #56-100. Available at:

George J. Borjas, “The New Economics of Immigration: Affluent Americans Gain, Poor Americans Lose,” Atlantic Monthly (November 1996). Also in The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics and Policies, ed. Anthony M. Messina and Gallya Lahav (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2006), 318-328. The New Economics of Immigration

Ray Marshall, “Getting Immigration Reform Right,” Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Briefing Paper #186, 15 March 2007. Available at

Douglas S. Massey, Testimony, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Comprehensive Immigration Reform II, 18 October 2005. Available at

The US Jesuit Conference has a publication that explores immigration from a number of angles:



Catholic Social Teaching Resources

USCCB Labor Day statements