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Mexican and Northern Triangle Perspectives on Mass Migration: Identifying and Assessing Strategic Narrative Alignment


Final Report


This project provides a comprehensive perspective on migration coming from the Northern Triangle by examining the last 20 years of related Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan, Mexican, and US news media and by conducting field interviews and focus groups with relevant stakeholders in locations near the Mexico-Guatemala and US-Mexico borders. The researchers extended a developing theory of strategic narrative that utilizes narrative as a tool to identify points of common concern, preferred solutions, and value standards mitigating competing interests relevant to Northern Triangle migrationIn addition, this project compiled and evaluated literature and proposals concerning effective comprehensive approaches to migration management including: migrant worker programs, workforce and vocational training, assisted voluntary return and reintegration programs, and migrant educational programs.  

The project provided Northern Triangle and Mexican national perspectives on what the humanitarian, economic, and political crises associated with migration are as well as perspectives on how to best address those crises through policy. The project also gave insight to local perspectives from the Mexico-Guatemala and US-Mexico border areas on what the humanitarian, resource and legal crises associated with migration are, as well as perspectives on how to best address those crises. Overall, the research provided a cogent narrative framework that helps US policymakers uncover the symbolic, language-related barriers inhibiting common understandings necessary for cooperative policymaking among US, Northern Triangle, and Mexican authorities and publics. Narrative structures reveal elements of interdependence, resilience, and decency within and between cultures. Further, it aids in determining realistic migration management programs and developing messaging strategies that stabilize migrant perspectives and expectations of US policies concerning the benefits of legal migration. The study will utilize the narrative policy framework (NPF) to better contextualize those elements of narrative with particular policy implications. See these findings in the final report below.