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Migration Miracle

Migration Miracle

Faith, Hope, and Meaning on the Undocumented Journey

Jacqueline Maria Hagan

ISBN 9780674066144

Publication date: 09/10/2012

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Since the arrival of the Puritans, various religious groups, including Quakers, Jews, Catholics, and Protestant sects, have migrated to the United States. The role of religion in motivating their migration and shaping their settlement experiences has been well documented. What has not been recorded is the contemporary story of how migrants from Mexico and Central America rely on religion—their clergy, faith, cultural expressions, and everyday religious practices—to endure the undocumented journey.

At a time when anti-immigrant feeling is rising among the American public and when immigration is often cast in economic or deviant terms, Migration Miracle humanizes the controversy by exploring the harsh realities of the migrants’ desperate journeys. Drawing on over 300 interviews with men, women, and children, Jacqueline Hagan focuses on an unexplored dimension of the migration undertaking—the role of religion and faith in surviving the journey. Each year hundreds of thousands of migrants risk their lives to cross the border into the United States, yet until now, few scholars have sought migrants’ own accounts of their experiences.


  • In her magnificent book, Migration Miracle, Jacqueline Hagan shows that religion has not been consigned to the dustbin of history, but is a vital and dynamic feature of contemporary social life. It constitutes essential reading for people interested in immigration and religion alike.

    —Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University


  • 2009, Winner of the Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award
  • 2010, Winner of the Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award


  • Jacqueline Maria Hagan is Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of Deciding To Be Legal: A Maya Community in Houston.

Book Details

  • 238 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press