Immigration story by Alex Luchsinger appears nationally on NBC platforms

In collaboration with journalist Martin Markovits, the assistant professor of journalism traveled to Mexico in December to examine what immigrants face when attempting to gain asylum in the United States.

While compiling content for his immigration piece for NBC, Assistant Professor Alex Luchsinger gathers footage of individuals seeking entry at the United States-Mexico border in Tijuana. While COVID-19 has impacted countries across the globe, Luchsinger was impressed with pandemic safety protocols in Tijuana, calling them “more stringent than many I’ve seen in the U.S.”

As Elon University concluded its fall semester last year, Assistant Professor Alex Luchsinger traveled to Mexico to investigate what immigrants encounter while seeking asylum in the United States. His news coverage has received national distribution over the last week, appearing on NBC affiliates and their respective online platforms throughout the country, including large TV markets such as Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York.

Luchsinger interviews Alexandra, a 17-year-old from Cuba, who is seeking asylum in the United States.

The six-minute news segment, titled “An Immigrant’s Experience of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy President Biden Is Ending,” highlights two female asylum seekers attempting to enter the U.S. and the additional hurdles they face because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with fellow journalist Martin Markovits, Luchsinger spent four days in Mexico co-producing the package, gathering footage and conducting on-site interviews. Following their trip, the duo returned stateside and spent a few days in Los Angeles scripting and editing the piece.

Asylum policies have been a national story this week with President Joe Biden signing a Feb. 2 executive order that directs the Department of Homeland Security to review the Migrant Protection Protocols, or “Remain in Mexico” policy. One of the most impactful asylum policies of the Trump administration, the program has kept more than 60,000 asylum seekers stuck in Mexican border towns for the better part of two years.

Luchsinger stands on a foot bridge near the Mexico-U.S. border.

This precarious situation on the Mexico-United States border is what led Luchsinger and Markovits to pitch their news coverage idea to NBC, which commissioned the project.

“The problem is that ‘migrant shelters’ don’t have much – if any – protections in place from COVID-19, and many parts of Mexico lack the infrastructure to get a handle on the pandemic and, many times, people are left with nowhere to go,” Luchsinger said.

In addition to the commissioned NBC coverage, Luchsinger and Markovits – who have previously worked together in the U.S. and abroad – produced a second piece for TRT World, an international Turkish news organization with offices in the U.S. Markovits served as the segment’s correspondent, with the duo splitting writing, shooting and editing responsibilities.

In November, Luchsinger also provided news coverage of the U.S. presidential election for EuroNews, a France-based television news network.