Homeland Security Conference: On the Border by the Sea

The Department of Public Affairs and Security Studies & College of Liberal Arts present:

Homeland Security Conference: On the Border by the Sea

May 23 -24, 2019

El Gran Salon, UTRGV Brownsville Campus

Sponsored by:

A Grant from the Texas National Security Network, The University of Texas System, Austin, Texas (https://www.txnsn.org/)

UTRGV Office of Global Engagement (https://www.utrgv.edu/oge/)

Call for Papers and Panels – Due April 15, 2019 - Please see submission tab below for more information

There will be no conference fee for registered conference presenters and attendees.



For this conference, we analyze, deconstruct, and interrogate all aspects of "borders" from Brownsville, Texas westward to San Diego, California, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, and across international barriers – such as they exist – into Mexico.  In fall 2018, the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent federal troops to the southwest border, laying concertina wire and supporting DHS operations. Here, borders refer to physical, geographical, metaphorical, and/or philosophical spaces that tend to separate us or, alternatively, bring us closer together. The primary aim of the conference is to engage in a discussion as to what constitutes the “homeland” security apparatus on the international border between Mexico and the USA, how it affects communities who dwell there, and the need for a discussion as to why the borders simultaneously separate and unite us.

This conference seeks to build new theoretical groundings in ways that create inclusive communities, increase citizen/public collaboration, improve governance, boost administrative prowess, and enhance what we know and understand concerning the concept of border security. Topics for papers may include (but are not limited to):

  1. Migration and homeland security.
  2. The Rio Grande and other natural barriers on the border.
  3. Agencies and agents working along the border through the border security apparatus: detention centers, and the courts.
  4. Homeland/border security depicted in art and music.
  5. Human rights and public law along the border prior to and after September 11, 2001.
  6. Citizen group participation: pro-migrant/refugee or anti-migrant/refugee.
  7. Border fences, walls, surveillance, personnel and other barriers: (in)effective allocation of public resources.
  8. Global comparisons: the unique-ness of the Mexico-USA border.
  9. The impact on the environment of border security.
  10. The Secure Fence Act (2006) and other government actions involving private property owners, wildlife refuges, and other nonprofit organization.
  11. Indigenous people affected by homeland security.
  12. Other topics related to conference invitation themes.

Conference Documentary Screenings

The River and the Wall: http://theriverandthewall.com/screenings

Ay Mariposa: https://www.aymariposafilm.com/team

El Muro: https://vimeo.com/258746689

Spotlight on Speakers

  • Mr. Todd Miller

    Picture of Todd Miller

    Todd Miller has researched and written about border issues for more than 15 years, the last eight as an independent journalist and writer. He resides in Tucson, Arizona, but also has spent many years living and working in Oaxaca, Mexico. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TomDispatch, The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, In These Times, Guernica, and Al Jazeera English, among other places.

    Miller has authored three books: The forthcoming Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World (Verso, 2019),  Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security (City Lights, 2017), and Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights, 2014).

    He’s a contributing editor on border and immigration issues for NACLA Report on the Americas and its column “Border Wars”.

    See more about Mr. Todd Miller here: http://www.toddmillerwriter.com/about/

  • Dr. Tony Payan

    Picture of Tony Payan

    Tony Payan, Ph.D., is the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute. He is also an adjunct associate professor at Rice University and a professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Between 2001 and 2015, Payan was a professor of political science at The University of Texas at El Paso.

    Payan’s research focuses primarily on border studies, particularly the U.S.-Mexico border. His work includes studies of border governance, border flows and immigration, as well as border security and organized crime. Payan has authored two books, “Cops, Soldiers and Diplomats: Understanding Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs” and “The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security” (2006 and 2016 editions). He has also co-edited six volumes: “Gobernabilidad e Ingobernabilidad en la Región Paso del Norte,” “Human Rights Along the U.S.-Mexico Border: Gendered Violence and Insecurity,” “De Soldaderas a Activistas: La mujer chihuahuense en los albores del Siglo XXI,” “A War that Can’t Be Won: Binational Perspectives on the War on Drugs,” “Undecided Nation: Political Gridlock and the Immigration Crisis,” and "Reforma Energética y Estado de Derecho en México." In addition, he has authored several book chapters and journal publications.

    Payan has served on several boards, including the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority in El Paso, Texas, and the Plan Estratégico de Juárez in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. He is a member of the Greater Houston Partnership's Immigration Task Force and the Mexico Energy Task Force. He previously served as president of the Association of Borderlands Studies between 2009 and 2010.

    Payan earned a B.A. in philosophy and classical languages from the University of Dallas and an MBA from the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management. He received a doctorate degree in international relations from Georgetown University in 2001.

    See more about Dr. Tony Payan here: https://www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/tony-payan/

  • Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera

     Image of Guadalupe Correa

    Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera (Ph.D. in Political Science, The New School for Social Research) is Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University. Her areas of expertise are Mexico-US relations, organized crime, immigration, border security, and human trafficking. Her newest book is titled Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico (University of Texas Press, 2017; Spanish version: Planeta, 2018). She was recently the Principal Investigator of a research grant to study organized crime and trafficking in persons in Central America and along Mexico’s eastern migration routes, supported by the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.


    Professor Correa-Cabrera is now working on a new book project that analyzes the main political, cultural, and ideological aspects of Mexican irregular immigration in the United States and US immigration policy entitled “Illegal Aliens”: The Human Problem of Mexican Undocumented Migration. She is also finalizing a book titled An Improvised War: Personal Stories and Political Perspectives of Mexico’s Security (co-authored with Dr. Tony Payan). At the same time, she is co-editing a volume titled North American Borders in Comparative Perspective: Re-Bordering Canada, The United States of America and Mexico in the 21st Century (in contract with University of Arizona Press, forthcoming Spring 2020).


    Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera is Past President of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS). She is also Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Non-resident Scholar at the Baker Institute’s Mexico Center (Rice University).

Send paper, panel and round table submissions directly to Dr. Terry Garrett, at terence.garrett@utrgv.edu. Conference sessions begin Thursday, May 23, 2019 and end on Friday, May 24, 2019.  The conference will be held at El Gran Salon on the campus of UTRGV in Brownsville, Texas. Questions about flight and travel information, the hotel, registration, or conference events should be sent to the Program and Site Committee Chair, Dr. Terry Garrett, at terence.garrett@utrgv.edu.

Participants will submit the following:

For papers and panels:

Name of paper presenter(s) and affiliation(s), title of paper, a 250 – word abstract, and a preference for inclusion in one or more of the conference themes.

For roundtables:

Names of participants, a 250-word abstract of the topic for discussion, and a preference for inclusion in one or more of the conference themes.

This conference features three types of sessions. First, paper discussion panels attract audiences that have read papers prior to the conference; emphasis will be on dialogue and peer review rather than extensive discrete presentation. Second, paper presentation panels occur with audiences unfamiliar with the content; general discussion follows authors' presentations. Third, roundtables focus on topics under development in border security and from related areas of inquiry through prepared discussants and dialogue with the audience.

Conference Program Committee

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Alexandre Couture Gagnon, Assistant Professor, Public Affairs and Security Studies, UTRGV

Terence Garrett, Professor, Public Affairs and Security Studies, UTRGV

Sylvia Gonzalez-Gorman, Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, UTRGV

Stefanie Herweck, Lecturer, Writing and Language Studies, UTRGV

Richard Herzog, Professor, Political Science Department, Stephen F. Austin University

Michelle Keck, Associate Professor, Political Science Department, UTRGV

Robert Koulish, Professor, Director of MLAW Programs, University of Maryland

Scott Nichol, Assistant Professor, Art Department, South Texas College

Arthur Sementelli, Professor, School of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University

Linda Williams, Assistant Professor, Public Affairs and Security Studies, UTRGV

George Atisa, Assistant Professor, Public Affairs and Security Studies, UTRGV


Conference Site Committee

Alexandre Couture Gagnon, PASS Department, UTRGV

Terence Garrett, PASS Department, UTRGV

Linda Williams, PASS Department, UTRGV

Renee Nank, PASS Department, UTRGV








Casa Bella Apartments (Very nice dorms)

2651 FJRM Ave., Brownsville, TX 78520



Guest Fact Sheet



3955 North Expy. Brownsville, TX 78520



Residence Inn

3975 North Expressway, Brownsville, TX 78520                     



Hampton Inn & Suites

3000 N. Expressway, Brownsville, TX 78526



Homewood Suites 

3759 N. Expressway, Brownsville, TX 78520



Holiday Inn Express

1985 N. Belden West Brownsville Cycle and Pedestrian Trail, Brownsville TX 78520



Staybridge Suites

2900 Pablo Kisel Blvd. Brownsville, TX 78526