If you are interested in learning more about the border or the issues that surround the deaths, we encourage you to look at this suggested reading list compiled by members of the Migrant Trail Organizing Committee.  We invite you to consider doing some reading ahead of time, or bringing one or two of the books with you on the Walk.

Migrant Trail: Recommended Reading

Books by journalists and activists about the US-Mexico border (most recent first)

  • Cantú, Francisco. The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border. 2018.
  • Chomsky, Aviva. Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal. 2017.
  • No Wall They Can Build: A Guide to Borders and Immigration Across North America. 2017. **written by a collective of solidarity activists on the border
  • Miller, Todd. Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security. 2014.** note: Todd Miller is a long-time MTW participant and has written two more recent books about global border and migration dynamics (see below)
  • Regan, Margaret. The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands. 2010.
  • Gaynor, Tim. Midnight on the Line: The Secret Life of the U.S.-Mexico Border. 2009.
  • Danelo, David . The Border. 2008.                                                      
  • Nazario, Sonia.  Enrique’s Journey. 2006.                                                     
  • Ramos, Jorge. Dying to Cross: The Worst Immigrant Tragedy in American History. 2005.
  • Urrea, Luis. The Devil’s Highway: A True Story.  2004.
  • Laufer, Peter. Wetback Nation: The Case for Opening the U.S.-Mexico Border. 2004.
  • Elna L. Otter and Dorothy F. Pine, Eds: The Sanctuary Experience — Voices of the Community. 2004 
  • Conover, Ted Coyotes. 1987.

Journalist books on migrant life in the US

  • Thorpe, Helen The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship and Hope in an American Classroom. 2017 
  • Thorpe, Helen Just Like US: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America. 2009.    
  • Quioñes, Sam. Antonio’s Gun And Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration. 2007.

Academic books on the US-Mexico Border and immigration policies

  • Bobrow- Strain, Aaron. The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story. 2019. ** this one appears to be less academic-y then most
  • Minian, Ana Raquel. Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration. 2018
  • Chacón, Justin A. No One Is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border. 2017.
  • Migrant Deaths in the Arizona Desert: La Vida No Vale Nada. Edited collection. 2016.
  • De Leon, Jason. 2015. The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail.
  • Golash-Boza, Tanya M. Immigrant Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post 9/11 America.  2012. 
  • Beyond la Frontera: The History of Mexico-U.S. Migration. Edited collection. 2011.
  •  Nevins, Joseph. Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War on “illegals” and the Remaking of the Us-Mexico Boundary. 2010.
  • Dunn, Timothy J. The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992: Low-intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home. 1996.

Resources particular to unaccompanied minors and migrant families

  • Youth Circulations website ** a nexus for research, art and activism around youth mobility and the politics of representation. Born of a shared frustration over media portrayals of young migrants and their families, we offer here a curated collection of these images and, in response, a meaningful and necessarily global critique.
  • Luiselli, Valeria. 2017. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions.
  • Heidbrink, Lauren. Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State Care and Contested Interests. 2016. ** academic book
  • Patel, Leigh. Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education, and the Politics of Inclusion. 2013. ** academic book

Hard to categorize, but important online resources

How to listen to make change | Kathryn Rodriguez | TEDxCUNYs

Migratory Notes **  At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we synthesize exceptional immigration journalism and highlight emerging practices to connect with multiethnic communities.

Ecologies of Migrant Care **aims to research, document, and make visible the region-wide humanitarian emergency that is resulting from the ongoing expulsion of refugees and migrants from Central America, and diverse and widespread responses to this situation by individuals, communities of faith, non-governmental organizations, and social movements across the region

Photo Essays online


  • Darling, Dan. Archaeopteryx. 2017.
  • Vaillant, John  The Jaguar’s Children. 2015.  
  • Urrea, Luis .Into the beautiful North. 2009.
  • Boyle, T.C. Tortilla Curtain. 1995

Academic texts about the Migrant Trail and similar efforts

  • Russo, Chandra. Solidarity in Practice: Moral Protest and the US Security State. 2018.
  • Van Ham, Lane. A Common Humanity: Ritual, Religion and Immigrant Advocacy in Tucson, Arizona. 2011.
  • Russo, Chandra. “Allies Forging Collective Identity: Embodiment And Emotions On The Migrant Trail.” 2014 (author is happy to share a copy, email at
  • Nepstad, Sharon Erickson. Convictions of the Soul: Religion, Culture and Agency in the Central American Solidarity Movement. 2004.

Journalist books on global borders and migration dynamics

  •  Miller, Todd. Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the US Border Around the World. 2019.
  •  Miller, Todd. Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security. 2017.
  •  Saunders, Doug. Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World. 2012.

Christian Literature

  • Myers, Chad and Matthew Colwell. Our God is the Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice. 2012.
  • Saenz, Benjamin. The Book of What Remains. 2010.
  • Carole, Daniel . Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible. 2008.

Books for deep historical background

  • Gwynne, S.C. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (2011) ** the Commanches and their 200 year dominion over much of what is now the US Southwest and northern Mexico
  • Hutton, Paul Andrew The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History. 2017.

**Apache history with related US military and boarding school, Tucson and Tohono Od’ham history in there as well

  • Sides, Hampton. Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West 2007.

** the definitive Kit Carson biography, with all the good the bad and the ugly laid out

  • Crow, John.  The Epic of Latin America. 1992.

Radio and podcasts

Latino USA

Radiolab’s Border Trilogy. border-trilogy

Documentary film (organized by year)

  • The Empire’s War on the Border 2016.
  • Quién Es Dayani Cristal? 2014.
  • The Undocumented. 2013. ** portions of this were filmed on the MTW as well as with MTW organizers
  • Living on One Dollar 2013
  • Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. 2012.
  • AbUSsed: The Postville Raid.  2011. Argueta, Luis.
  • Welcome to Shelbyville. 2009.  
  •  El corazón del tiempo. 2009. Cortes, Alberto.
  • Which Way Home. 2009. Cammisa, Rebecca.  
  • 9500 Liberty. 2009. Byler and Park. 
  • De nadie.  2007.
  • Maquilopolis: City of Factories. 2006. Funari, Vicky and Sergio de la Torre. 
  • Crossing Arizona. 2005.
  • Escuela. 2002.

Drama and comedic films (no particular order)

  • The Border (1982)
  • Born in East LA
  • A day without a Mexican
  • Children of Men
  • Bread and Roses
  • Sleep Deeper
  • De Nadie
  • Sin dejar huella
  • Jaula de Oro (the recommender noted this was a particularly “heavy” film)
  • Caracol
  • Bajo The Misma Luna (translated as “under the same moon”)
  • Sin Nombre
  • El Norte
  • Papers