Interrogating the Borders of North America
Border control policies are based in struggles over who should be allowed to move across international boundary lines and under what conditions—as well as who has the authority to draw those boundaries and set those conditions. Examining the spaces where migrant justice and Indigenous sovereignty movements challenge border policies offers a window into the social justice and security implications of these policies. These struggles challenge us to re-think borders as both political and ethical processes.
Dr. Julie Young, Canada Research Chair in Critical Border Studies, is exploring the local and regional impacts of Canadian border control policies and practices. She is drawing connections between the displacement of Mexican and Central American citizens today and the historical and ongoing displacement of Indigenous communities across North America. To date, she and her research team have examined how migrants and advocates interact with and challenge the Canada–US and Mexico–Guatemala borders.
By collaborating with students, colleagues and community members, Young and her team are analyzing how Canada develops and implements policies to manage migration regionally. They are also building a network of scholars focusing on border studies in the context of settler colonial nation-states. Their work draws upon Lethbridge’s location as a borderlands city that continues to negotiate Indigenous-settler histories and relationships as well as more recent experiences with refugee resettlement and temporary migrant workers.
Young’s research promises to shed light on the uneven geographic and socio-economic impacts of Canada’s policies, and to reframe the terms of public discussion on the role of borders.