Regan, Margaret

by Corey Reinig

Margaret Regan is a journalist from Tucson, Arizona, who has been writing about the Arizona-Mexico border since 2000.[1]   In her first book, The Death of Josseline, published by Beacon Press in 2010, she describes the human migration across Arizona through the stories of many who are involved, including migrants, border patrol agents, humanitarians, local landowners, environmentalists, and others who are affected.

Through her beautiful writing style, she tries to bring awareness of humanitarian concerns and deaths which occur along the Arizona-Mexico border.  She empathizes with the struggles of migrants, and shares their story with her readers to give the border issue a human face.  Regan believes that it is her job as a fellow human being to share the story of the suffering migrants who attempt to cross the desert relatively near her home in Tucson.  She believes that many of these deaths are preventable through policy change, although as a reporter she believes it is her job to share the story and not to offer policy initiatives.[2]

Regan has been writing about the Hispanic population before there was a significant problem with border crossing deaths in Arizona.  In the summer of 2000, she noticed the alarming number of migrant deaths in the Arizona desert reported in her local newspaper.  After 1990s policy changes made it more difficult for migrants to enter the United States in urban areas, people began to attempt to cross the border in more remote and dangerous places, and she believed that is was a story that needed to be told.  In her first story, which eventually turned out to be the first chapter of her book, she rode along with a border patrol agent.  There she had a chance to  interview a migrant, Ishmael, whose cousin had just died in the desert in his arms.  She describes this experience as life-changing.  About half of her book comes from stories already published in the Tucson Weekly.[3]

Regan went to a private Catholic high school in Philadelphia.  After high school she attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in French.  She also studied French in Paris, and Spanish in Antigua, Guatemala.  She started working as a French editor for the T.V. Guide magazine and as a children’s book editor for McGraw-Hill.  Afterward, she got a job as art critic for the Tucson Weekly starting in 1990.[4]  After writing about her Irish-immigrant grandparents, who lived a hard life and died at a young age in Philadelphia, she became interested in the Hispanic population in Arizona because she believed they had similar hardships and experiences to her grandparents.[5]  Her work can be found in the Washington Post, Newsday, Black + White, Photovision, Focus, and other publications.[6] She has won more than fifty awards for her journalism, including twelve for her border reporting.[7]  Today she continues to critique art for the Tucson Weekly, and she is also working on a second book, also dealing with border issues.

Further Reading

Regan, Margaret.  “Margaret Regan.” Margaret Regan. (accessed March 25, 2012).

Ravet, Teresa Carbajal, “Interview w/ Margaret Regan, author of newly published, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories,”, March 25, 2012).

Regan, Margaret.  The Death of Josseline:  Immigration Stories From the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands.  Boston:  Beacon Press, 2010.

[1] Teresa Carbajal Ravet, “Interview w/ Margaret Regan, author of newly published, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories,”, (accessed March 25, 2012).

[2] MargaretRegan, interview by students at Colorado State University in senior capstone Class in history, March 28, 2012, Fort Collins, Colorado.  The author was present at this interview.

[3] Ibid.

[4]“Margaret Regan,” Margaret Regan, (accessed March 25, 2012).

[5]Carbajal Ravet, “Interview w/ Margaret Regan.”

[6]“Margaret Regan.”

[7]Carbajal Ravet, “Interview w/ Margaret Regan.”