SESSION 4: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Panel A: Authentic Agency: The Importance of Freedom in Local Contexts

C102 Hesburgh Center

Moderator: Jimena Holguin


Poverty Alleviation in Guatemala: The Complementary Effects of Aid and Remittances

Helen Owen, University of Richmond


Immigration Policy on the Colombo-Venezolana Border: International Indifference and Local Agency

Brendan Markey, University of Notre Dame

In the late 1990s and early 2000s violence rose in Colombia as the government ramped up security measures and clashes with guerilla groups such as the FARC and ELN increased.  The fighting between the government forces and non-state actors often spilled over to affect civilians, driving an increase in displacements as civilians fled the fighting.  Growing violence on in the Colombo-Venezolano border region in the early 2000s meant that many of the displacements forced civilians across the border into neighboring Venezuela, entering the country in search of refugee status.  Some estimates place this refugee population at over 200,000 by 2005.  However, with the majority of national and international focus placed on the the violence and peace talks in Colombia, little attention was paid to the growing refugee crisis.  Refugees often saw their human rights violated and their lives put at risk due to this inattention.  In the face of this international and federal ambivalence, local leaders on both sides of the border came together to forge new and creative solutions and practical immigration policies to address the crisis.  These moments of collaboration illustrate a powerful phenomena of grassroots action as a force for development in situations in which the international community fails.


Local and Autonomous Community Migration Responses: Case Study of Barcelona, Spain

Allexis Mahanna, University of Iowa

This research was conducted over Summer 2019 to provide context to the current migration responses in Spain, specifically in the urban city of Barcelona, located in the autonomous community of Catalonia. It questions how migration policies tend to differ between autonomous communities, and the cities within them. Additionally, it focuses on possible implications from the different regions’ responses, impacted by the increasing influx of migrants into Spain. This ethnographic research project evaluates the local migration policies of Barcelona through a case study framework. It subsists of two forms of data, first including a literary analysis of local and country wide migration policies, population density changes, and the historical perceptions of migrants in Spain, spanning from 1985 to 2018. The second form of data includes evaluations of local and community wide migrant policies through thematically coded qualitative interviews of individuals working at migrant agencies in Barcelona. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and categorically coded in order to identify key themes and patterns. There is an exploration of the correlational factors connected to opinions about migrants in Spain, most notably unemployment rates, immigration rates into Spain, and emigration rates out of Spain. This research additionally explains the implications of current migrant policy spanning the local, autonomous community, and state levels of Spain, with a focus on the problems occurring when policy spans autonomous regions and local municipalities without clear responsibility delineation.