This article explores the role of the anthropologist working with immigrant communities in the U.S.–Mexico Border Region. As an anthropologist, I have had to negotiate my role as an academic, administrator, and activist. The article examines these three roles by analyzing the experience of the anthropologist with immigrant communities and agencies over the past nine years and during the southern California wildfires of 2007. While in many ways the three roles are categorically distinct, they are also connected and work to inform each other. The position of an applied anthropologist in the U.S.–Mexico border has allowed for development of practical and applied solutions to help improve the wellbeing of immigrant communities. This form of applied, practical, yet academically grounded work has the potential to elevate the anthropology of immigration beyond that of traditional researcher.
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