U.S. Customs and Border Protection's acting deputy commissioner Ronald Vitiello, center foreground, and two other CBP agents, talk over the primary fence to their Mexican Federal Police counterparts in Tijuana, Mexico during Vitiello's tour of the site on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in San Diego. Contractors have completed eight prototypes of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico, triggering a period of rigorous testing to determine if they can repel sledgehammers, torches, pickaxes and battery-operated tools. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool)(John Gibbins)


ANN ARBOR, MI - A Livingston Award-winning journalist, a MacArthur Genius and anthropologist, and a University of Michigan public policy expert will share their stories and findings behind immigration statistics and discuss the complexities and ramifications involved in clandestine migration during an upcoming talk at UM.

The discussion will take place during "Beyond the Wall: The Human Toll of Border Crossings," which is set for 4 p.m. Jan. 31 inside the Annenberg Auditorium of UM's Weill Hall, 735 S. State St., Ann Arbor. The event is free and open to the public.

Speakers for the discussion include Jason De Leon, an associate professor of Anthropology at UM and director of the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of undocumented migration between Mexico and the United States that uses ethnography, archaeology and forensic science to understand this clandestine social process.

In recognition of his work on this project, De Leon was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2017. The study uses ethnographic, archaeological, forensic and visual approaches to understand this phenomenon in places such as the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, northern Mexican border towns and the southern Mexico/Guatemala border.

De Leon was one of two UM professors and 24 total members of the 2017 class of MacArthur Fellows. The awards are given annually to individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for more in the future, according to the MacArthur Foundation.


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