The topic of 'illegal' immigration has been a major aspect of public discourse in the United States and many other immigrant-receiving countries. From the beginning of its modern invocation in the early twentieth century, the often ill-defined epithet of human 'illegality' has figured prominently in the media; in vigorous public debates at the national, state, and local levels; and in presidential campaigns. In this collection of essays, contributors from a variety of disciplines - anthropology, law, political science, religious studies, and sociology - examine how immigration law shapes immigrant illegality, how the concept of immigrant illegality is deployed and lived, and how its power is wielded and resisted. The authors conclude that the current concept of immigrant illegality is in need of sustained critique, as careful analysis will aid policy discussions and lead to more just solutions.
Cecilia Menjivar is Cowden Distinguished Professor at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. In her work she has examined the social consequences of immigration enforcement and how the law positions immigrants to live in legal ambiguity. She is the author of Enduring Violence: Ladina Women's Everyday Lives in Guatemala (2011) and Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America (2000). Daniel Kanstroom is Professor of Law at Boston College Law School where he teaches immigration and refugee law, international human rights law, and administrative law. He is Director of the International Human Rights Program and the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project. He also founded the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Clinic, where students represent indigent migrants and asylum-seekers. He is the author of Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora (2012) and Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History (2007).
1. Introduction: 'immigrant illegality': constructions, critiques, resistance Cecilia Menjivar and Daniel Kanstroom; Part I. The Construction of 'Illegality': 2. Immigration 'reform' and the production of migrant 'illegality' Nicholas De Genova; 3. Coercive immigration enforcement and bureaucratic ideology Nestor Rodriguez and Cristian Paredes; 4. 'Illegality' across generations: public discourse and the children of undocumented immigrants Leo R. Chavez; 5. 'Illegality' and the US-Mexico border: how it is produced and resisted Josiah McC. Heyman; Part II. Complicating Lived Experiences of 'Illegality': 6. Latino immigrants' diverse experiences of 'illegality' Leisy Abrego; 7. Challenging the transition to new 'illegalities': undocumented young adults and the shifting boundaries of inclusion Roberto G. Gonzales, Luisa Laura Heredia and Genevieve Negron-Gonzales; 8. The modern deportation regime and Mexican families: the indirect consequences for children in new destination communities Joanna Dreby; 9. From legal to 'illegal': the deportation of legal permanent residents from the United States Tanya Golash-Boza; Part III. Responses and Resistance: 10. Voice and power in the immigrant rights movement Walter J. Nicholls; 11. 'Illegality' and the spaces of sanctuary: belonging and homeland-making in urban community gardens Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Jose Miguel Ruiz; 12. Challenging laws: faith-based engagement with unauthorized immigration Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Susanna J. Snyder and Manuel A. Vasquez; 13. Shades of blue: local policing, legality, and immigration law Doris Marie Provine and Paul G. Lewis; Part IV. Policy the Future: 14. 'Illegal' people and the rule of law Donald Kerwin; 15. Developing a new mindset on immigration reform Bill Ong Hing.