Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Julio Moreno


The end of the Cold War lifted the United States to the role of the sole economic superpower, and an opportune moment to address hemispheric issues was presented to Washington policymakers. By the end of the 1980s, hemispheric forced migration was on the rise, with a large portion of those forced to flee from Central America. This moment coincided with the decade characterized by an increasingly connected world, where globalization in the form of economic linkages were being proposed in the Summit of the Americas, hemispheric meetings that began in the 1990s in hopes of addressing hemispheric issues. While the free movement of goods is characteristic of neoliberal policies, the movement of people was met with resistance. The increasingly restrictive immigration policies of the 1990s provided little relief for seeking refuge in the United States. The unintended consequence of obliging to a neoliberal project is the displacement of people. This study examines the response and justification of the Clinton administration towards forced migration from Central America. Specifically, this study compares the discourse of neoliberal economic integration to the discourse of the shift toward increasingly restrictive immigration policies.