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ADVISORY: Legal Violence: How Immigration Enforcement Affects Families, Schools, and Workplaces

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Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Phone: 202.481.8181

Washington, D.C. – Please join the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, December 11, for the release of new report “Legal Violence in the Lives of Immigrants: How Immigration Enforcement Affects Families, Schools, and Workplaces,” and a discussion of ways in which increased immigration enforcement on the federal, state, and local levels affects documented and undocumented immigrants and the wider community in which they live. Report authors Cecilia Menjívar and Leisy Abrego will join Roberto Gonzales of University of Chicago, Lisa Moore of the Domestic Workers Alliance, and Chris Newman of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network to focus on how detentions and deportations build upon one another in harmful ways, straining family ties, opening the door to employer exploitation and mistreatment, and causing children to underperform or exit school early.

At the event, authors Cecilia Menjívar and Leisy Abrego will discuss their research and the individuals caught up in the enforcement system who they met along the way. The authors argue that the cumulative effects of immigration enforcement, and the ensuing stigmatization of immigrants that goes hand-in-hand—what they term ‘legal violence’—hinder today’s immigrants from integrating into life in the U.S. as their predecessors did before them. The authors have conducted more than 200 in-depth interviews over 10 years of research, and bring their wide-ranging knowledge, and intimate stories of those affected, to the Center.

Roberto Gonzales will discuss undocumented immigrants and education, from primary school through college, while Lisa Moore will discuss “A Wish for the Holidays,” an advocacy campaign focused on ensuring that families are not separated because detention and deportation. Finally, Chris Newman will discuss how immigration enforcement affects immigrants as workers, and as well as the campaigns to garner greater protections and rights for these workers.

This event marks the capstone of our “Documenting the Undocumented” series, which seeks to shine a light on all aspects of life for undocumented immigrants.


Introductory Remarks:

Cecilia Menjívar, Cowden Distinguished Professor in the T Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Featured Panelists:

Leisy Abrego, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies, University of California Los Angeles
Roberto Gonzales, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration
Lisa Moore, Gender and Immigration Campaign Organizer, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Chris Newman, Director of Legal Programs, National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Philip E. Wolgin, Immigration Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress

A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.


December 11, 2012
12:00pm – 1:00pm ET


RSVP for this event


Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC20005

Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center


To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or