The longest government shutdown in U.S. history occurred in early 2019 in large part due to policy differences over how to secure the Southern border. Pundits debate rhetoric over migrant caravans, coast-to-coast walls, and the rights of asylum-seekers, while empirical facts seem to conflict. Is there an immigration crisis, and to what extent have the actions of the United States fueled it? What have U.S. policymakers tried to achieve in the hemisphere, and how successful have they been? Conversely, what factors drive Latin Americans to the U.S., and how have they changed over time? In this course, we will examine U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America through the lens of migration. Themes covered in lecture and class discussion will include major U.S. foreign policy objectives as well as the role of American business interests in the region, and their impact on migration, particularly economic development and human rights. More specific topics will include the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt’s Corollary, Dollar Diplomacy, the Washington Consensus, the Iran-Contra affair, the Bracero program, NAFTA and its revisions, and the growth of MS-13 and other trafficking gangs. Previous coursework in International Relations and/or Comparative Politics is recommended, but not necessary or required for success in the course.
Instructor: Dr. Wendy Sinek