Fronteras: Writer Lauren Markham Is Debunking Myths About Migrants | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: Writer Lauren Markham Is Debunking Myths About Migrants

Nov 22, 2019

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller was recently exposed of sending emails to the far-right media outlet, Breibart, in which he recommended the website write about the 1973 French novel, “The Camp of the Saints.” The controversial novel pushes the theory that minorities are replacing and ultimately destroying white civilization — “the great replacement” myth.

These are the same myths writer and journalist Lauren Markham has aimed to tackle throughout her writing. She has worked with refugees and immigrants for over a decade and has written about migration stories and migration myths.


Lauren Markham is a writer based in Berkeley, California, focusing on issues related to youth, migration, the environment, and her home state of California. For over a decade, she has worked in the fields of refugee resettlement and immigrant education.
Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently leaked emails that Miller sent to Breitbart, which he allegedly encouraged the media outlet to push a white supremacist agenda ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The group Hatewatch also found that Miller wrote about limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the U.S., touting “the great replacement” myth.

It’s a myth that was also highlighted in the Aug. 3 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart, when a suspected gunman targeting Mexicans drove over 600 miles from a Dallas suburb to El Paso and killed 22 people.

Myths about immigration have fueled the divide on the perception of migration. “Immigrants bring disease. They’re not educated. They don’t want to learn English. They don’t pay taxes. They’re criminals.”

Markham’s writing reflects her first-hand experience with migration crises — both in the U.S. and around the world — and debunks these myths. She’s reported and studied migration patterns across the world and Markham came to realize several underlying trends.

Hunger, drought, famine, war, violence, even climate change are all factors, among others, Markham has consistently seen as reasons migrants pack up their belongings and leave their home countries.

Markham makes connections between today’s migration crisis and that of almost 40 years ago in her book, “The Far Away Brothers,” which documents the true story of two unaccompanied minors who fled gang violence in El Salvador.

Markham was in San Antonio this month to speak on migration stories and migration myths at San Antonio College. Her work on global refugee issues, Central American migration, environmental policy, and urban education has been featured in multiple publications, including The Guardian, Harpers, and The New Yorker.com.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.