Forced Migration


Mural on the Theme of Migration

Mural on the Theme of Migration

From Watkins & Casey, Up Against the Wall: Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border:

The forced or sometimes chosen northward migratory path of Mexican migrants brings them back to lands that prior to 1848 were part of their country. As though caught in a reciprocal osmotic process, I have been pulled Southward over the last decade, as though a compensatory process in my own psyche and bodily presence has been activated. My pilgrimage has taken me southward in order to more fully arrive home in Santa Barbara, to have a better understanding of my neighbors and myself. It has drawn me “off-center,” and has offered me a deeper way of being at home.

I naively thought that the desperate situation I encountered in 2002 could be ameliorated through federal immigration reform, and that local and state efforts could be launched in the meantime helping those migrants now stranded in our communities due to the wall. Instead I have found myself learning about and witnessing a tragic and shameful chapter-in-the-making of American history. While my interest began with the literal wall that has been built during this period, it gradually widened to encompass the global and the local implications of this wall building…. in an age of forced migrations that are occurring across the globe, and which threaten to multiply as the number of environmental refugees soar…


Watkins, M. (2007). Psyches and cities of hospitality in an era of forced migration: The shadows of slavery and conquest on the “immigration” debate. Spring 78, 177-201. Co-authored with The Immigration Rights Committee (2008). In the shadows of paradise: The experiences of the undocumented community in Santa Barbara. PUEBLO Education Fund. Santa Barbara, CA.

Watkins, M. (2011). The shame of forcibly displacing others: 9/11 and the criminalization of immigration. American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Asian and Asian American Philosophers and Philosophies, 10, 2.

Watkins, M. (3/29/13). The Dignity of Immigrant-Neighbors / La Dignidad de los Vecinos-Inmigrantes  CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (4/26/13). Why Do People Risk Coming Without Documents? / ¿Por Qué la Gente Se Arriesga A Venir Sin Documentos? CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (5/31/13). “We did not cross the border, the border crossed us.” / “Nosotros no cruzamos la frontera, la frontera nos cruzó a nosotros.” CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (6/28/13). Human Rights and Forced Migration / Derechos Humanos y Migración Forzada. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (7/26/13). Working Without Documents in Santa Barbara / Trabajando Sin Documentos En Santa Bárbara. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. ((8/30/13). Facing Economic Inequality in Santa Barbara / Frente a la Desigualdad Económica en Santa Bárbara. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (9/27/13). Welcoming Immigrants into the Workforce / Dándoles la Bienvenida a los Inmigrantes a la Fuerza Laboral. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (11/1/13). Immigrant Noncitizens Breath a Sigh of Relief with the TRUST Act / Los Inmigrantes No Ciudadanos Respiran un Suspiro de Alivio con el Acta de Confianza. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (11/29/13). The Pain of Deportation, Part 1 / El Dolor de la Deportación, Parte 1. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (12/27/13). The Pain of Deportation, Part 2 / El Dolor de la Deportación, parte 2 . CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (1/31/14). Local Sites of Conscience: Using Place to Move Hearts from Exclusion to Inclusion / Sitios Locales de Conciencia: Usando el Lugar Para Mover Corazones de Exclusión a la Inclusión. CASA Magazine.

Watkins, M. (2015). The undoing of hard borders: Art at the U.S. border against Mexico. In S. P. Moslund, A. R. Petersen & M. Schramm (Eds.), Migration and culture: Politics, aesthetics, and history. London/New York: I. B. Tauris Press.

Watkins, M. & Casey, S. (2014). Up against the wall: Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico border. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Watkins, M. (2018). From Hospitality to Mutual Accompaniment: Addressing Soul Loss in the Citizen-Neighbor. In T. Grusovnik, L. Skof, E. Mendieta (Eds.), Borders and debordering: Topologies, praxes, hospitableness. New York, NY: Lexington Books.

Watkins, M. & E. S. Casey (2019). From Perishing in the Shadows of Walls to Renewed Life in Vital Borderlands. Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 45, 1-2: 111-118.

Psyches and Cities of Hospitality, Talk presented to C. G. Jung Club of Orange County, 3/5/2005