Institutional Violence and Children at the Border

Institutional Violence and Children at the Border

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, G

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




Please join us for a research presentation from Alejandra Alvarez. Ms. Alvarez joined TBI this summer as a post-graduate intern conducting research on the phenomenon of institutional violence against migrants on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. As part of her internship, she will offer a public presentation of the work she has done while with TBI. 

Institutional Violence and Children at the Border
This research analyzes the dynamic relationship between institutional violence, institutional racism, and the lack of transparency concerning immigration politics. It focuses upon the treatment of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America and Mexico and their detention by agents of the US Customs and Border Protection. With an analysis of recent complaints before the Department of Homeland Security and an examination of legal antecedents concerning the policy of handing unaccompanied migrant children, it argues that the DHS has continuously violated the human rights of these children. These abuses reveal both profound manifestations of an institutional culture that criminalizes irregular immigration and a frank contradiction with the higher need to protect the higher interests of the child.

M. Alejandra Alvarez Garcia, a former lead investigator of human rights violations in Argentina. From 2004 to 2013, she had worked for the Human Rights Division of the Prosecutor's Office in the province of Tucumán, where she collaborated in cases involving crimes against the humanity during the last dictatorship (1976-1983).


The Trans-Border Institute (TBI) at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies welcomed three specialized research practitioners for post-graduate internships this summer. Interns were asked to present a research proposal complementing one of the following five activity nodes of TBI:

  • Recognizing refugees from the drug war and the post-authoritarian transition it has obscured
  • Championing a human rights perspective on migration
  • Defending trans-border transparency and freedom of expression
  • Developing peace and justice curricula and other humanistic responses to war and dictatorship
  • Exposing the trans-border practices and legacies of the death penalty in the U.S. and Central America

During their time here, interns at TBI receive structured training in our research methods; contribute to our ongoing research projects; and gain valuable mentoring and review of their own research projects from the TBI director and staff.

The Trans-Border Institute promotes research, outreach and dialogue on border issues. For the last twenty years, we have been a leading source of expertise on the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Recently, we’ve expanded our portfolio beyond the U.S.-Mexico border and the set of issues “the border” usually implies in order to address the history, reality and aftermath of armed conflicts in Mexico and Central America, and the ways in which they interact with U.S. policies.

Alejandra Alvarez

Post Contact

Martha Garcia
(619) 260-4148

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

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