Robert Lee Maril is an author, educator, and sociologist focusing upon racism and other forms of systemic discrimination in the southwest and along the U.S.-Mexico border.  He is the author of eight books. After he was embedded for two years in the Border Patrol in South Texas, he authored Patrolling Chaos, the first and only comprehensive account of systemic problems within U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.  Most recently is The Fence: National Security, Public Safety, and Illegal Immigration along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Maril graduated from Grinnell College with a major in Russian Studies, then earned a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Indiana University Bloomington and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington University.  He has been interviewed and/or cited in the The New York Times, Politico, CNN, Vice News Service, La Opinion, Fox and Friends, Newsweek, Christian Science Monitor and other international, national, regional, and local media.

His eight books have received national attention including the Best Single Authored Nonfiction Work of the Year from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Title Award, the Gustavus Meyers Center Humanitarian Book Award, and Foreword Magazine Nonfiction Book of the Year Finalist.

Since 2003 Maril is a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at East Carolina University.


The Fence: National Security, Public Safety, and Illegal Immigration along the U.S.-Mexico Border


Patrolling Chaos


Waltzing with the Ghost of Tom Joad


The Bay Shrimpers of Texas: Rural Workers in a Global Economy


Living on the Edge of America


Poorest of Americans,


Cannibals and Condos


Texas Shrimpers: Community, Capitalism, and the Sea


Other Publications:

The Latino American Wrestling Experience: Over 100 years of Wrestling Heritage in the United States (with Jorge Iber) published by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame,


New Books in Progress:

Maril is currently conducting research on two books, one on poverty and racism in the Southwest, the other on racism in amateur and professional sports.