Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

How Restrictive Local Immigration Policies Affect Daily Life

SOURCE: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast Immigrants react to legal threats and hostile reception by going underground: They hold negative perceptions of local law enforcement, associate routine activities such as driving and walking with anxiety and the risk of deportation, and develop strategies of avoidance and fitting in to mitigate the discovery of their unauthorized status.


By Angela S. García, David G. Keyes


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What happens to undocumented immigrants after the passage of anti-immigrant state laws such as Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and Alabama’s H.B. 56 or restrictive local ordinances such as those in Prince William County, Virginia, or Freemont, Nebraska? What is life like for unauthorized immigrants in these areas, and how do they mitigate the harshness of these ordinances? On the flip side, what happens to the larger communities—documented and not, immigrant and not—and how do these laws impact the ability of law enforcement professionals to keep our communities safe?

Escondido Police Under Fire


ESCONDIDO — On a spring morning in 2010, Leticia dropped two of her children at their Escondido school and continued on to run errands with her 4-year-old daughter. Before long, she was stopped at a police checkpoint.

Could Arpaio’s Endorsement Hurt Perry?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (Photo: Dan De Vivo)

PHOENIX, Arizona—An endorsement from “America’s Toughest Sheriff” may not be worth as much as it used to in the past.

A famous hard-liner on illegal immigration, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Tuesday launched a storm of media coverage nationwide.

But locally, members of a citizen group that helped recall one of the sheriff’s closest allies from office say much is to do about nothing.

NPR: Have The Crackdowns On Immigration Gone Too Far?

Dave Martin/AP


The architect of Arizona’s controversial immigration law has been voted out of office. That law and similar statutes are undergoing difficult court challenges. And the strictest law, in Alabama, has ignited a withering backlash expected to force major changes.

Have the crackdowns on illegal immigration finally gone too far?

Petition to Gov. Brown: Take California out of the S-Comm Program. No More Arizonas.


New York, Illinois, and Massachsetts have all ended the dangerous “Secure Communities” program.   Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia are all headed in the other direction.

What will California do?

On Friday, Los Angeles lawmakers weighed in.  “There’s a train wreck looming.” said Congressman Xavier Becerra on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall.  He continued, “ICE’s so-called Secure Communities program translates into less security, not more.”  Congresswoman Judy Chu agreed, concluding,  “I sincerely hope we suspend our state’s participation in the program.”

Why is S-Comm a problem? Well, imagine having to choose between getting deported or getting beaten by your spouse. Imagine Congress allotting funds for a program that takes Arizona’s failed policies nationwide.  Imagine a neighborhood where people don’t call the police when something goes wrong because s-comm’s turned the police into a net for deportation.