Undocumentedness and public policy: The impact on communities, individuals, and families along the Arizona/Sonora border

Marylyn Morris McEwen, Joyceen S. Boyle, De Anne K. Hilfinger Messias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The focus of this article is the health impact and implications of undocumentedness along the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the Arizona/Sonora region. We describe the direct and indirect influences of immigration policies on the health of individuals, families, and communities. The Arizona border region maintains close social, cultural, and linguistic ties to Mexico, and the amplified efforts to secure the border have been dramatic on the region and on the people who live there. The 261-mile stretch across the Arizona-Sonora Desert is the most deadly corridor for immigrants crossing into the United States because they are at risk of being killed, kidnapped, and coerced into smuggling drugs or dying in the desert. Gang-related violence is pushing more Central Americans, including unaccompanied minors, to the United States. The impact on individual migrants and their families has been devastating. We examine the health implications of policy and applaud the actions of the Arizona Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nursing to address the health needs of border communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalNursing outlook
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Border health
  • Migration
  • Nursing
  • Policy
  • Undocumentedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

Cite this