Jorge Bustamante Award Statement
Dr. Bustamante’s lifetime contributions in research, teaching and service in the field of international migration and human rights exemplify the very best of the Cox-Johnson-Frazier tradition.
Earning a Ph.D. in the U.S. and fighting racial discrimination throughout his academic career, he has left an important legacy to our understanding of undocumented migration nationally and globally.He has been a pioneer and bridge in the promotion of relations between Mexico and U.S. Chicano-Latino organizations, including the struggle against school segregation, recognition of workers' rights and the fight for human rights violated in Proposition 187 and Operation Gatekeeper.His pathbreaking research, teaching and service in this area began early on in his academic career.His dissertation field work included participant observation as an undocumented immigrant.This field work led to several publications including the highly praised AJS article, “Wetback as Deviant: An Application of Labeling Theory.”Throughout his career, Professor Bustamante has investigated the ways that undocumented workers have used as scapegoats during economic crisis in the U.S. He has documented a precise pattern of anti-immigrant rhetoric in Congress and the border states occurring in every U.S. recession since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Professor Bustamante has made significant research contributions to studying migration flows from Mexico to the U.S. He developed a unique research method to document the flow of undocumented crossing into the U.S. using a photographic technique.His project, Quantitative Observations at Zapata Canyon . The Use of Photographic Techniques,” was sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.This method, conducted over a year’s time, led to the first scientifically based estimate of the volume of undocumented immigrants to the United Stated from Mexico .His national research design was implemented by the national census in Mexico to count immigrants in the U.S. and serves to help both countries understand the actual magnitude of the migration flows.His theoretical contributions include the identification of“circularity” of migration and his notion of the “dialectics of vulnerability” to frame the politics of undocumented migration from the same base that sociologists use to understand other populations that are most vulnerable and unable to defend themselves.
Over the years, he has served as a consultant for numerous Human Rights NGO’s and workers unions.He was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants.Under the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants created by the Commission on Human Rights, Bustamante examined “ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, including obstacles and difficulties for the return of migrants who are undocumented or in an irregular situation”.
His awards and honors are numerous.He served as Honorary Consul General of Japan in Baja California , Chairman of United Nations’ Intergovernmental Group of Experts on International Migration and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland .He served as a member of the core group of Mexican Scholars appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico for the Binational Study of Migration between Mexico and the United States agreed upon by the governments of Mexico and the United States . He was the first elected president of the Border Environmental Cooperative Commission created by NAFTA.He served as a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Trilateral Commission of Cooperation for the Environment U.S. - Canada- Mexico .He is a Founding Member of the Mexican Academy of Human rights.He was elected to serve on the Advisory Council to the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies.He was appointed Regents Lecturer at the University of California , Riverside and has received the National Award in Science by the President of Mexico.
As an educator, Dr. Bustamante has more than thirty years of research and teaching experineces.He became the first President of the graduate school he established in Tijuana , Baja California which stands out as the premier urban planning school along the border training master’s and Ph.D. students on binational issues.He helped established the journal, Frontera Norte/the Northern Border, while at the Colegio in Tijuana .He has been invited to teach courses on Mexican immigration at the University of Paris , University of La Coruña , Spain , and throughout Mexico and the United States .
Dr. Bustamante is currently a professor and researcher at El Colegio del Frontera Norte and is the Eugene Conley Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame.