Seeing Like a Cop, Writing Like a Critical Scholar

  • Amada ArmentaEmail author


I grew up 12 miles from the United States-Mexico border, where immigration enforcement was a daily reality that most people took for granted. In the following pages, I explain how an early interest in immigration enforcement inspired a research agenda that examines how immigration enforcement works and how immigration laws shape the experiences of Latino immigrants and their descendants. My research took me to Nashville, Tennessee, where I conducted interviews and did police ride-alongs to examine how local law enforcement agencies interact with immigrant communities. In this essay, I describe how I secured access to the police department, how I navigated the obvious differences between police officers and I, and how I moved beyond what police think they do, to critically analyze their contributions to American immigration enforcement.


Ethnography Police Immigrants Immigration enforcement 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public AffairsUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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