An anthropology professor at the University of Michigan says he has discovered a new-fangled category of immigrants trying to cross the border into the United States illegally.
The professor, Jason De Leon, identifies this “new type of immigrant” as individuals who have resided in the United States for a really long time but then faced deportation by the federal government, reports Hispanically Speaking News.
“The only way of life they know is that of the United States,” De Leon insists.
It’s not clear how long these illegal immigrants have lived stateside, or what then causes them to suffer deportation.
“These are people who have been educated in the U.S., who haven’t set foot in Mexico in years and who are trying to cross the desert because the only life they know is in this country,” he added.
De Leon manages an ongoing project that tracks changes in the patterns of immigration from Mexico by gathering and analyzing objects people leave behind on their journeys through the desert covering parts of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
De Leon’s project has an exhibit in Michigan. He wants to take it on the road as well, to Arizona and perhaps even Mexico.
“The stories of the immigrants are changing.” De Leon told a Spanish news agency, according to HS News. “They’re telling us that now they are walking much more and suffering much more.”
The Michigan prof also noted that more illegal immigrants are coming from southern Mexico and the countries in Central America even farther south more frequently.
De Leon, who grew up in Texas very close to the U.S.-Mexico border, lists “undocumented migration and deportation” and “archaeology of the contemporary Mexico/U.S. border” among his academic interests.
He received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Penn State University.