About the Initiative

Migration has been part and parcel of human history, and at present nearly 300 million people live in a different country than the one they were born in. While many individuals migrate through formal channels — obtaining legal permanent residencies based on family reunification or employment or education visas, or applying for resettlement as a refugee, for example — millions of others are left without a pathway to cross international borders, and are forced to undertake journeys without a legal route or safe conditions.

With an interdisciplinary and interrelated approach, the Baker Institute Migration Initiative — a collaboration between the Center for Health and Biosciences, Center for the U.S. and Mexico and Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East — focuses on the economic, legal, health and social and environmental aspects of migration.


Areas of Concentration

    Immigrants offer immense contributions to the economy and labor force. Studying immigration issues and labor mobility (including circular, temporary and permanent migration) is key to understanding why people migrate and what their social mobility and opportunities are. Economic research on migration focuses on issues such as financial access and inclusion, remittances and labor market outcomes.

    Migrants face numerous legal challenges, from obtaining documentation to accessing legal services. This area of concentration delves into the history of immigration policy, legal protection and international law, visa processes and procedures, the impact of immigration law and policies, border security and enforcement, deportations and returns, and externalization of migration management.

    A multitude of areas related to health affect displaced populations, and our research aims to examine the impact of each topic. The concentration on health encapsulates physical health, mental health and wellbeing, topics of risk and resilience, access to health care, social determinants of health and reproductive health.

    We seek to address the social needs of displaced populations as well as understand the intersection between environmental issues and displacement. This area of concentration focuses on housing and food insecurity, education opportunities, human trafficking, gender and migration, climate-induced migration, advocacy and activism, migrant integration and transnational repression. 


    Luz Maria Garcini
    Baker Institute Rice Faculty Scholar | Interim Director of Community Health, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University
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    Tony Payan
    Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies | Director, Center for the United States and Mexico
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    Rola El-Serag
    L.E. and Virginia Simmons Senior Fellow in Health Policy | Director, Center for Health & Biosciences
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    Related Events

    Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East | Center for the U.S. and Mexico | March 15, 2023
    Charting Paths Forward on Immigration Reform
    Center for the U.S. and Mexico | November 4, 2021
    Webinar — The Way Forward: Immigration Reform for the 21st Century
    Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East | Center for the U.S. and Mexico | November 17, 2020
    Webinar — The Mediterranean and Central American Migration Crises Examined