Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminology


Juan José Bustamante

Committee Member

Rocio Paez

Second Committee Member

William Schwab


Catholic church, Central America, Covid-19 pandemic, enforcement, ethnographic research, externalization, immigration control, legal violence, migration


This research study focuses on the externalization of migration control and its effects on staffmembers of community organizations that serve Central American migrants in transit. While literature on migration enforcement places emphasis on border control and internal removals, research on new forms of migration enforcement has paid little attention to the extension of border control beyond physical borders. This study employed an ethnographic approach to address the overarching question of how community organizers have responded to the adoption of US practices on extraterritorial migration control by the Mexican government while serving migrants in transit. Data collected provide empirical evidence contextual to the realities of members of shelters serving migrants along Mexican migrant routes. In specific, it portrayed the importance of the spiritual support that the Catholic Church provides for migrants in their journey across Mexican territory.