Editor's note

For so many Americans, one of the things that most fundamentally defines us as nation is our compassion for those who come here from a foreign land with hopes of starting a new and better life. Any good historian can easily run down a list of ways we have failed on this front. Yet, I believe it is something we aspire to in our struggle to form “a more perfect union.” And boy, did we struggle in 2017 – as many of our articles on immigration showed. The Trump administration’s attempts to drastically alter U.S. policies on immigrants and refugees unleashed a groundswell of opposition at the local, national and international levels, in what many see as a fight for America’s soul. Danielle Douez

The past year hasn’t been the brightest for many Latin American countries. Covering the region for The Conversation US, I was often dispirited by the news in 2017, which included police brutality in Brazil, democratic crises in Honduras, Paraguay and Ecuador, and far too many murders. Perhaps most headlines this year came from Mexico and Venezuela. Mexico’s terrible 2017 started with Donald Trump’s inauguration and ended with record high crime, punctuated by earthquakes. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s grim crisis entered its third year, a political and economic meltdown turned humanitarian tragedy that shows no signs of improving. Catesby Holmes

Danielle Douez

Associate Editor, Politics + Society

Catesby Holmes

Global Affairs Editor

Politics + Society

Protest against Trump’s travel ban in Los Angeles, Jan. 29, 2017. AP Photo/Ryan Kang

Migration mayhem in 2017: 9 essential reads

Danielle Douez, The Conversation

A look back at how one of the most divisive issues of the Trump campaign played out during the first year of his presidency.

Trump's immigration order is bad foreign policy

David FitzGerald, University of California, San Diego; David Cook Martín, Grinnell College

This isn't the first time the US has banned people based on nationality. History shows these exclusions have put our national security at risk and caused rifts with foreign allies.

San Francisco is using a Montana sheriff's playbook to sue Trump on sanctuary cities

Anthony Johnstone, The University of Montana

Twenty years ago, a sheriff won a lawsuit against a federal gun control law. Today, San Francisco is betting the same argument for state's rights will stop Trump from defunding sanctuary cities.

Even before sanctuary cities, here's how black Americans protected fugitive slaves

Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts Amherst

In the 19th century, slaveholders advertised widely for runaway slaves and often hired men to track and capture fugitives. African-American communities offered sanctuary space to the runaways.

History shows Trump will face legal challenges to detaining immigrants

Kevin Johnson, University of California, Davis

A short history of legal challenges to immigrant detention practices in the U.S. may shed light on what's to come for the new administration.

Is the US immigration court system broken?

Lindsay M. Harris, University of the District of Columbia

The system is backlogged and inefficient. Trump's commitment to strict immigration enforcement will likely make the problem worse.

Post-DACA: How Congress can replace Obama's program and make it even better

Wayne Cornelius, University of California, San Diego

Congress has an opportunity to build on DACA's success. An immigration expert explains how.

Immigration and crime: What does the research say?

Charis Kubrin, University of California, Irvine; Graham C. Ousey, College of William & Mary; Lesley Reid, University of Alabama; Robert Adelman, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Our panel of experts examines whether immigration leads to more crime using data from across 200 metropolitan areas and 20 years of research.

Will Puerto Ricans return home after Hurricane María?

Alexis R. Santos-Lozada, Pennsylvania State University

A demographer at Penn State surveyed Puerto Ricans on the mainland to see if they had plans to return to the island.

Hurricanes drive immigration to the US

Dean Yang, University of Michigan; Parag Mahajan, University of Michigan

Data reveal how hurricanes affect migration, and what it means for US immigration policy.

Global Affairs

After two earthquakes killed hundreds in Mexico within weeks in September, #Fuerza Mexico — Strength, Mexico — became a international rallying cry. Gannett Riquelme/Reuters

Why 2017 was so terrible for Mexico: 8 essential reads

Catesby Holmes, The Conversation

Three runaway governors. Two deadly earthquakes. One Donald J. Trump. Here's why the past year hasn't been the kindest to Mexico.

Twitter diplomacy: how Trump is using social media to spur a crisis with Mexico

Luis Gómez Romero, University of Wollongong

US foreign relations have gone online. And the results are not looking good.

How will Mexico deal with The Donald?

Carlos Bravo Regidor, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas

Donald Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-NAFTA rhetoric has targeted Mexico and Mexicans.

Why seismologists didn't see Mexico's deadly earthquake coming

Luis Quintanar Robles, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

The Tehuantepec gap in southeastern Mexico, where this month's massive earthquake originated, was long thought to be 'aseismic.' On September 7, scientists learned otherwise.

Governors gone wild: Mexico faces a "lost generation" of corrupt leaders

Luis Gómez Romero, University of Wollongong

Three Mexican governors have been arrested in 2017 abroad after fleeing justice, and nearly 90% of the country's citizens see the government as deeply corrupt.

Is Mexico actually the world's second most murderous nation?

Luis Gómez Romero, University of Wollongong

A controversial report claims that Mexico is more violent than Afghanistan and Yemen. It's wrong on the details but right that Mexico is, in effect, a war zone.

Mexico's military is a lethal killing force – should it really be deployed as police?

Luis Gómez Romero, University of Wollongong

A controversial law to officially engage Mexico's armed forces in fighting crime has human rights groups dismayed.

As angry voters reject major parties, Mexico's 2018 presidential race grows chaotic

Salvador Vázquez del Mercado, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas

Mexico's 2018 presidential race hasn't even begun, but it's already a nail-biter, featuring two women, a left-wing firebrand, party defections, strange bedfellows and no small dose of scandal.

Reshaping NAFTA could be good for Mexico's economy (and Brazil's and Argentina's, too)

Cecilia Tortajada, National University of Singapore; Asit K. Biswas, National University of Singapore

If the United States withdraws from or significantly alters NAFTA, Mexico has more options than it thinks — and potentially less to lose than its northern neighbour.

AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan

Inside Venezuela's crisis: 7 essential reads

Catesby Holmes, The Conversation

How to understand the economic, political and humanitarian crisis that has brought a South American nation to its knees.

Nobody is going to bail out Venezuela

Henkel Garcia U, Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB)

China, Russia and the International Monetary Fund are among those contemplating a Venezuela bailout. But help for this debt-stricken nation seems far from assured.

Inside Venezuela's economic collapse

Henkel Garcia U, Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB)

How is a country that was once South America's richest now on the verge of bankruptcy? A Venezuelan economist breaks down his country's descent into chaos.

Thousands flee violence and hunger in Venezuela, seeking asylum in the United States

Emilio Osorio Alvarez, Universidad Central de Venezuela

Venezuelans, fleeing hunger and repression at home, have surpassed Central Americans as the top US asylum-seekers.

For Venezuela, there may be no happily ever after

Miguel Angel Latouche, Universidad Central de Venezuela

Venezuela's opposition has called a 48-hour strike to stop the Maduro government from rewriting the nation’s constitution. But grassroots democracy may not be able to save the Bolivarian Republic.

Venezuela's opposition is on the verge of collapse

Marco Aponte-Moreno, St Mary's College of California

After the Maduro regime won Venezuela's recent gubernatorial elections, results are contested, people are desperate and the opposition has fractured. Can the resistance survive this setback?

Venezuela's elections are just a new way for Maduro to cling to power

Benigno Alarcón, Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB)

President Nicolás Maduro has announced he will run for reelection, a sign that Venezuela's authoritarian regime now has an electoral strategy for beating the opposition.

Venezuelan regime sweeps mayors races, tightening Maduro's grip on power

Benigno Alarcón, Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB)

Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party won 39 of 40 major mayoral races on Dec. 10. A victorious President Nicolás Maduro is now likely to call a snap presidential election early next year. Can he win?

 Support The Conversation