Cover Photo Image

The goals of the Woodson Martin Immigration and Democracy Initiative at the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement are to: 

  • expand the electorate to include greater voice from historically marginalized groups,
  • educate the campus and broader Harrisonburg/Rockingham communities on immigration issues,
  • help remove barriers to deeper democratic engagement, and
  • collaborate with the local immigrant and refugee communities on civic learning and democratic engagement opportunities.
Upcoming Events

August 14, 2021: Harrisonburg Hispanic Festival at Ralph Sampson Park

September 11, 2021: Salsaburg with Live Band "Edwin Ortiz y La Mafia del Guaguanco" from Washington DC at Crosskeys Vineyard

September 19-25, 2021: International Week at JMU

October 7, 2021: Screening of "Who Is Dayani Cristal" followed by panel discussion with faculty and community members, 6:30 p.m. Grafton-Stovall Theater

October 28, 2021: National Immigrants Day

December 18, 2021: Migrant Workers Day

Learning Resources

Democracy Matters, Episode 63: Durable Policy Solutions to the Humanitarian Crisis in Central America

Julio Rank Wright, Deputy Regional Director for Latin America at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), joins us to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in northern Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) that continues to force thousands of people to flee for safety in neighboring countries and the United States, and durable policy solutions to address the crisis.

Democracy Matters, Episode 62: Moving Beyond the ‘Band Aid on Wound’ Approach to Refugees

Jana Mason, Senior External Relations Advisor at the Washington, D.C. office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR—the UN Refugee Agency) discusses the root causes of forced migration and the global refugee crisis, and what we can do to take action on important issues facing refugees.

Democracy Matters - Episode 49: From Chaos to Compassion: A New Era for Immigration?

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Policy Counsel at the American Immigration Council discusses immigration law and policy and what to expect under the Biden administration.

Democracy Matters - Episode 25: UniverCity of Refuge

We talk about the global refugee crisis and what can be done about it with Dr. Diya Abdo, founder of Every Campus a Refuge.


JMU Civic Research & Analysis

An Intersection of Calamities: The Emerging Trend of Climate Refugees by Sarah Akers, Woodson Martin Democracy Program Fellow 2021-2022, JMU '20, Justice Studies

Climate Refugees by Sarah Akers, Woodson Martin Democracy Program Fellow 2021-2022, JMU '20, Justice Studies

E-CARCERATION and the Price of the American Dream by Diego F. Salinas, Woodson Martin Democracy Program Fellow 2020-2021, JMU '18 School of Theatre and Dance and Modern Foreign Languages

#AsylumIsLegal by Diego F. Salinas, Woodson Martin Democracy Program Fellow 2020-2021, JMU '18 School of Theatre and Dance and Modern Foreign Languages

Deferred Enforced Departure By Mary Tolentino, Woodson Martin Democracy Fellow (JMU ‘23, Health Sciences & Medical Spanish)

U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: A Breakdown by By Diego F. Salinas, Woodson Martin Democracy Fellow, Nadiya Khaydari (JMU ‘22, Political Science and Economics) and Mary Tolentino (JMU ‘23, Health Sciences & Medical Spanish)

How Will the 2020 Elections Impact Immigration Policy? By Diego F. Salinas, Woodson Martin Democracy Program Fellow, JMU ’18, School of Theatre and Dance and Modern Foreign Languages

Tent Talk Primer: What do Rihanna, Jesus and Albert Einstein have in common?

JMU Faculty Research and Projects

Below are selected relevant readings on migration, immigration and refugee policy issues from James Madison University Faculty. Click here to view additional scholarship.

Daniel J. Beers, "The End Of Resettlement? U.S. refugee policy in the age of Trump." Social Sciences, 9(8), 129.

Daniel J. Beers, Repatriation, Refugees, and Returning Home by Katy Long. Refuge Book Reviews, 81–83. 

Daniel J. Beers, Robert Fatton, Jr., Haiti: Trapped in the Outer Periphery. PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICS, 12(4), 942-942.

Harrisonburg 360 podcast by Dr. Allison Fagan, chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program, and JMU students

Allison Fagan, From the Edge: Chicana/o Border Literature and the Politics of Print


David Trouille, Fútbol in the Park: Immigrants, Soccer, and the Creation of Social Ties

David Trouille, "Neighborhood outsiders, field insiders: Latino immigrant men and the control of public space." Qualitative Sociology, 36(1): 1-22.

Case Watkins, Sluyter, A., Chaney, J. P., & Gibson, A. M. N. (2015). Hispanic and Latino New Orleans: Immigration and identity since the eighteenth century. Louisiana State University Press.

Laura H. Zarrugh, “From Workers to Owners: Latino Entrepreneurs in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Laura H. Zarrugh,  “The Latinization of the Central Shenandoah Valley

Taller para Elaborar y Compartir Experiencias de Inmigración/Crafting and Sharing Your Immigration Experience

Led by Drs. Carlos and Melissa Aleman and Woodson Martin Democracy Fellow Mary Tolentino this workshop is an opportunity for community members to learn how to craft stories of their immigration experience through narrative and digital mapping tools. The workshop encourages participants to share these stories with family members as a celebration of the contributions of immigrants and refugees in the Harrisonburg, Virginia area.

Carlos Aleman et al., "Immigrant Story Sharing for Building Youth Empowerment and Civic Engagement," Engagement Scholarship Consortium, September 14, 2021.



Back to Top