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PRESS CALL ADVISORY: How Anti-Immigrant Laws Affect Daily Life for Undocumented Immigrants

Study Examines the Everyday Lives of Undocumented Immigrants Under Restrictive Immigration laws

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Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Phone: 202.481.8181

Washington, D.C. – In light of the number of cities and states that have passed restrictive anti-immigrant laws, and the intertwining of local police and federal immigration officials, the Center for American Progress will release “Life as an Undocumented Immigrant: How Restrictive Local Immigration Policies Affect Daily Life,” by Angela S. García and David G. Keyes on March 26. Drawing on detailed original research and interviews in North County San Diego, an area of the country known for its tough immigration enforcement, García and Keyes argue that exclusionary policies – especially in jurisdictions where local policing and immigration enforcement go hand in hand – inhibit immigrant incorporation, and damage public safety.

Fearful of even everyday activities like getting groceries or taking their children to school, immigrants go underground. They hold negative perceptions of local law enforcement, and develop strategies to evade discovery of their status. Since more than half of all undocumented immigrants live in mixed-status families, even legally present immigrants in North County utilize the same strategies of avoidance, out of fear that their friends or loved ones could be deported. García and Keyes find that immigrants in North County live their lives under a series of anxieties and contradictions. On the one hand, most of the immigrants surveyed feared interacting with the police, and felt unduly persecuted. On the other, like most Americans, they view actions like reporting crimes as a responsibility of all community members.

To avoid contact with officials, immigrants in North County go to such lengths as to alter their appearance or have family members or friends with documents report a crime on their behalf or pick up their children. Importantly though, García and Keyes argue that when any member of the community feels unsafe to report a crime or call the police, the entire community—immigrant or native-born—suffers, as community safety and community relations break down. This paper is the second in the Center for American Progress’s “Documenting the Undocumented” Series, which looks at the daily lives, struggles, and strategies of undocumented immigrants who must live through the assault of harsh laws designed to make their lives unbearable.

Please join the report’s authors—Angela S. García, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at UC San Diego and David G. Keyes, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at UC San Diego—along with Bill Flores, Retired San Diego County Assistant Sheriff and former spokesperson for El Grupo, an advocacy organization active in North County, and Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, to discuss the detrimental effects of restrictive immigration laws and federal enforcement on undocumented immigrants and community safety.

WHAT: Press call to discuss the detrimental effects of local anti-immigrant laws and federal enforcement on the lives of undocumented immigrants and on community cohesion and safety.



Monday, March 26, 2012, 1:00pm EST, 10:00 a.m. PST



ID # 64680952


Please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or


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