Racism, the immigration enforcement regime, and the implications for racial inequality in the lives of undocumented young adults

Report Author: 
Aranda, E., & Vaquera, E.
Original Date of Publication: 
January, 2015

Despite the fact that living without legal documentation in the U.S. is considered a civil offense, undocumented immigrants are often depicted and treated as criminals. As a result, undocumented immigrants are subjected to policing and disciplining, such as detainment and use of ankle monitoring device, that are reserved for people who commit serious criminal offenses. Moreover, during President Barrack Obama's presidency, mass deportation reached an all-time high that only sustained the fears and anxiety of undocumented immigrants. This study argues that the criminalization of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is a result of structural and systemic racism regardless of its claim of race-neutral or colorblind practice. Twenty-seven 1.5 generation undocumented immigrants were interviewed for this study based on their perceptions and experiences of enforcement practices and its effects on their lives and their families. Some of the findings showed constant the fear of being racially profiled by police authorities like being pulled over while driving which leads to detention. Respondents also reported being afraid to report experiences of their rights being violated. Lastly, many who were educated in the U.S. discussed feeling stuck and worthless as a result of not being able to access higher education due to being ineligible for government-assisted financial aid or apply for other jobs because of their lack of experience. Future studies should explore the long-term effects of the immigration policies of the U.S.  (Immigrant Integration Lab)

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Racism, the immigration enforcement regime, and the implications for racial inequality in the lives of undocumented young adults

Citation: 

Aranda, E., & Vaquera, E. (2015). Racism, the Immigration Enforcement Regime, and the Implications for Racial Inequality in the Lives of Undocumented Young Adults. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1(1), 88–104. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332649214551097

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