Accession Number:



Muted Voices: Toward an Understanding of the U.S. Asylum Program at the Southwest Border

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:

Naval Postgraduate School

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The often-dismissed people who live, work, and pass through the Mexico-U.S. border can offer new insight into the U.S. asylum program crisis. This thesis develops a concept called muted voices that can help identify, access, and hear the subjective stories of displaced people, border patrol agents, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers. These individuals go through a similar journey of trauma and stress in their interactions with U.S. bureaucratic systems - systems made even more cumbersome by executive orders and procedural changes from a presidential administration hell-bent on restricting the U.S. asylum program. The fictional narratives and historical background presented in this thesis illuminate the everyday realities, struggles, and complexities along the border as well as the geopolitical, historical, and economic conditions that have culminated in the current crisis. The accounts of a displaced youth fleeing his home, a border patrol agent implementing the praxis of bordering, ordering, and othering, and a refugee officer interpreting asylum procedures reveal how policies shape lives and help to situate implications and recommendations for homeland security.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Civil Defense

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]