Final Summary of Immigration Research

Hello all!

To everyone who read my earlier updates, thanks for joining me on my epic quest to compare immigration narratives between U.S., Mexican, and Honduran media. To those of you who would prefer a short-cut, here’s a quick summary of my research process and findings. If you’re interested in an aesthetically-pleasing presentation that expands on my work, click this link:

 During the first week, I combed through 250 New York Times articles and found that, in general, the stories were discouraging to potential migrants. Although there were exceptions—like opinion pieces that extolled the economic benefits of immigrants or news pieces that detailed Supreme Court wins for asylum-seekers—most stories told of increasing barriers to entry and anti-immigrant sentiment. Throughout the second week I analyzed 250 more articles, this time from popular newspapers in Mexico and Honduras. Even though these “origin”-country papers showed slight differences in coverage, they both seemed to craft narratives that were discouraging to potential migrants. Common topics included the dangers of a migrant’s journey, the U.S.’s restrictive immigration policies, or the mistreatment of migrants in detainment centers.

After a year’s worth of news consumption in three weeks, it appeared that the “origin”-country media AND the “receiving”-country media sent potential migrants a similar message: the journey to the U.S. is dangerous, and America will not welcome you with open arms. This means that potential migrants with access to news media are likely aware of the obstacles they face. Many that choose to travel to the U.S. understand that they may not find an easy life, but they make the journey anyway in search of relative safety.

Thanks to this project, I am now well-versed in current immigration affairs and migration-related Spanish. However, I also learned some invaluable lessons about the research process. One lesson that stuck with me is that no study is perfect. As much as a researcher might strive to control every variable and close every gap in the data, there will probably still be a few gray areas. My weeks-long endeavor has shown me that it’s better to acknowledge these small discrepancies and learn from them, rather than brush them under the rug.

So that’s all for now! Until next time, just remember: there’s more than one side to every story…even if both those sides appear to be in agreement.