"Anthropologists Should Participate in the Current Immigration Debate" was the title of an earlier entry. Josiah McC. Heyman is one of the engaged anthropologists. He wrote several newspaper articles about the US-Mexican border where he showed that more border enforcement will not deter people from coming to the United States, but rarther make them more likely to settle and less likely to return home.
In his op-ed The Border Control Illusion (MS Word document!)he writes:
What can we do when our current ideas don’t work? We can question our assumptions. In this case, the assumption is that BAD THINGS come from outside of the country and that WE inside the U.S. have nothing to do with them. The border could be a safe protective wall that keeps all danger away, if we could just make it big, tall, and tough enough.
(...) Migration is woven into the interior of the United States. It is part of the construction, agriculture, and services we all use, directly and indirectly. It is part of family reunification and community consolidation. Migration cannot be stopped by the border because it is already on the inside--not just the immigrants living among us, but part and parcel of our own culture and economy. We must think differently, very differently.
Elsewhere on the web:
Josiah McC. Heyman: Class and classification at the U.S.-Mexico border (Human Organization, summer 2001 / FindArticles.com)
Josiah McC. Heyman: The Anthropology of Power-Wielding Bureaucracies (Human Organization, winter 2004 / FindArticles.com)