Testimonial Engagement: Undocumented Latina Mothers Navigating a Gendered Deportation Regime
- 707 Downloads
This community-based qualitative study investigated the real or threatened impact of immigration enforcement on undocumented mothers as they navigate a “gendered deportation regime.” We analyzed seven interviews with undocumented mothers who have experienced the deportation of someone close to them and live under the constant threat of deportation. Based on an inductive, team-based analysis process, we present case examples of four themes that illustrate how undocumented mothers describe their experience negotiating the aftermath and threat of deportation: quality of life, material possibilities, balancing the social, and engaging with advocacy networks. Findings expand on previous research emphasizing the impact of “deportability” on the everyday lives of undocumented immigrants by attending to gendered aspects of immigration enforcement. As a collaborative research team composed of social work faculty, graduate students, and immigrant rights activists, we also critically engage with our attempts to meld research and community organizing in order to illustrate challenges that scholars and social service practitioners face when working with undocumented populations.
KeywordsUndocumented immigrants Mothers Deportation Community organizing
We gratefully acknowledge the help and contributions of the families who courageously shared their testimonios with us. In addition, we want to thank the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights for their guidance and their unwavering commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable populations.
This work was supported by a grant from the School of Social Work Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Research and Training Center, University of Michigan, and the Center for Research on Ethnicity Culture and Health at the School of Public Health, University of Michigan.
- Abrego, L. J., & Menjívar, C. (2011). Immigrant Latina mothers as targets of legal violence. International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 37(1), 9–26.Google Scholar
- Allen, B., Cisneros, E. M., & Tellez, A. (2013). The Children Left Behind: The Impact of Parental Deportation on Mental Health. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1–7.Google Scholar
- Batalova, J., & Fix, M. (2011). Up for grabs: the gains and prospects of first and second generation young adults. Report for the Migration Policy Institute. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/youngadults-upforgrabs.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2013.
- Beverley, J. (2005). Testimonio, subalternity, and narrative authority. In S. Castro-Klaren (Ed.), A companion to Latin American Literature and Culture. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
- Boehm, D. A. (2009). “¿Quién Sabe?”: Deportation and temporality among transnational Mexicans. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, 38(2), 345–374.Google Scholar
- Brotherton, D. C., & Barrios, L. (2011). Banished to the Homeland: Dominican deportees and their stories of exile. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Capps, R., Castañeda, R. M., Chaudry, A., & Santos, R. (2007). Paying the price: the impact of immigration raids on America’s children. Washington: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- Chaudry, A., Capps, R., Pedroza, J. M., Castañeda, R. M., Santos, R. & Scott, M. M. (2010). Facing our future: Children in the aftermath of immigration enforcement. Urban Institute. Retrieved from: http://carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/facing_our_future.pdf
- Chavez, L. R. (2008). The Latino threat. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Cornelius, W. A. (2006). Impacts of border enforcement on unauthorized Mexican migration to the United States. In New York: Social Science Research Council, on-line forum on “Border Battles: The US Immigration Debates,” September (Vol. 26).Google Scholar
- Delva, J., Horner, P., Sanders, L., Martinez, R., Lopez, W. D., & Doering-White, J. (2013). Mental health problems of children of undocumented parents in the United States: a hidden crisis. Journal of Community Positive Practices XIII, 3, 25–35.Google Scholar
- Dowling, J. A., & Inda, J. X. (2013). Governing immigration through Crime: a reader. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Dreby, J. (2010). Divided by borders: Mexican migrants and their children. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Ehrenreich, B., & Hochschild, A. R. (Eds.). (2003). Global woman: Nannies, maids, and sex workers in the new economy. Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2, 163–194.Google Scholar
- Guest, G., & MacQueen, K. M. (2008). An introduction to team-based qualitative research. In G. Guest & K. M. MacQueen (Eds.), The handbook for team-based qualitative research. Lanham: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
- Gutierrez, E. R. (2008). Fertile matters: the politics of Mexican women’s reproduction. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
- Hagan, J., Castro, B., & Rodriguez, N. (2010). The effects of U.S. deportation policies on immigrant families and communities: Cross-border perspectives. North Carol Law Review, 88, 1799–1824.Google Scholar
- Hamman, E. T., Wortham, S., & Murillo, G., Jr. (2002). Education and policy in the new Latino Diaspora. Westport: Alex.Google Scholar
- Headley, B., Gordon, M. D., & MacIntosh, A. (2005). Deported: entry and exit findings. Jamaicans returned home from the US between 1997 and 2003. Kingston: Stephenson Litho Press.Google Scholar
- Hernandez, D. M. (2008). Pursuant to Deportation: Latinos and Immigrant Detention. Latino Studies, 6, 35–63.Google Scholar
- Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. (1994). Gendered transitions: the Mexican experience of immigration. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Israel, B. A., Coombe, C. M., Cheezum, R. R., Schulz, A. J., McGranaghan, R. J., Lichtenstein, R., Reyes, A. G., Clement, J., & Burris, A. (2010). Community-based participatory research: a capacity-building approach for policy advocacy aimed at eliminating health disparities. American Journal of Public Health, 100(11), 2094–2102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Massey, D., Durand, J., & Malone, N. (2002). Beyond smoke and mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russel Sage Press.Google Scholar
- Menchú, R. (1984). I, Rigoberta Menchú: an Indian Woman in Guatemala. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
- Morton J. (2010). Exercising prosecutorial discretion consistent with the civil immigration enforcement priorities of the agency for the apprehension, detention and removal of aliens. Available at: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/secure-communities/pdf/prosecutorial-discretion-memo.pdf. Accessed May 1, 2013.
- Ngai, M. M. (2004). Impossible subjects: Illegal aliens and the making of modern America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Passel, J.S., Cohn, D. (2011). A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States. Pew Hispanic Center. Washington, DC. Accessed at http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/107.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2013.
- Secretaría de Gobernación. (2011). Encuesta Sobre Migración en la Frontera Norte. Mexico, D.F.: Concejo Nacional de Población. Available at http://www.colef.net/emif/resultados/publicaciones/publicacionesnte/pubnte/EMIF%20NORTE%202011.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2013.
- Stephen, L. (1997). Women and social movements in Latin America Power from below. Austin: The University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, M. J., Moran-Taylor, M. J., & Rodman Ruiz, D. (2006). Land, ethnic, and gender change: transnational migration and its effects on Guatemalan lives and landscapes. Geoforum, 37(1), 41–61.Google Scholar
- Theodore, N. (2013). Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement Chicago, IL: University of Illinois at Chicago. Available at http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/gci/documents/1213/Insecure_Communities_Report_FINAL.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2013.
- United States Census Bureau (2010) 2000 Census, Summary File 1; 2010 Census, Pl94-171 data file. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/mp/www/cat/decennial_census_2000/census_2000_redistricting_data_public_law_94-171_summary_files.html
- United States Department of Homeland Security (2012) Report, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011. Available at http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2011/ois_yb_2011.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2013.
- United States Department of Justice (1999). Statistic Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/yearbook/1997YB.pdf
- Waslin, M. (2011). The secure communities program: Unanswered questions and continuing concerns. Washington: Report for the Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar