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Fatima Khayar Camara

Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, UC San Diego

Residency: September 2020 – March 2021

Research Project: Assimilating the Prodigal Son: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Three Post-Deportation Incorporation Regimes in Mexico

Research Interests: U.S.-Mexico migration, immigrant assimilation, deportee (re)incorporation, social movements, comparative historical sociology, ethnographic methods


Fátima Khayar Cámara is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at UC San Diego. Khayar Cámara’s broad interests lie at the intersection of political sociology and international migration. Her work contributes to better understanding how return migration plays in nation state-building processes. Khayar Cámara’s dissertation comparatively studies the conditions that have shaped deportees’ incorporation in Mexico across three waves of mass returns from the U.S. into Mexico: The Great Depression, the period that culminated with Operation Wetback and the contemporary period (2008-2018). She comparatively analyzes the policies set in motion by the state to allocate rights to returning emigrants and explains why some repatriated citizens were better able to (re)assimilate and reclaim and exercise Mexican citizenship than others.

Khayar Cámara’s research combines the interpretative study of secondary sources, archival documents, participant observation and in-depth interviews with deportees and key stakeholders both in Mexico and the U.S. Her preliminary results suggest that returnees paths of assimilation can be explained by differences in styles and modes of political mobilization on the part of repatriated citizens, but also in relation to a regime's conceptualization of returnees in terms of their potential contribution to the nation-state building process. This project has received the generous support of the Institute of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego, the Tinker Foundation, UC-MEXUS and the Chancellor’s Research Excellence Scholarship Fund at UC San Diego.