“Esto no se lo deseo a nadie”: the Impact of Immigration Detention on Latina/o Immigrants

David Becerra, Stephanie Lechuga-Peña, Jason Castillo, Raquel Perez González, Nicole Ciriello, Fabiola Cervantes, Francisca Porchas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies in the USA have increased in recent decades. Immigration detention has more than tripled since the 1990s, and recently there has been an increase in women and children being held in immigration detention. The length of detention and treatment immigrant detainees face often violate international human rights laws. In this study, we use Latina/o Critical Race Theory (LatCrit) to examine the impact of immigration detention on Latina/o immigrants. A focus group was conducted in Arizona after the implementation of several anti-immigrant bills, including SB1070, as well as the increase of anti-immigrant rhetoric prior to the 2016 US presidential election. The focus group was conducted in Spanish with 11 adult Latina/o immigrants (females = 7, males = 4). After completing a thematic analysis of the transcribed data, four major themes emerged: (1) abuse of power by ICE officials, Border Patrol, detention center officers, and medical personnel; (2) mistreatment, including humiliation, discrimination, and dehumanization; (3) trauma; and (4) finding strength through their religiosity and children, despite being held in immigration detention. These findings, along with a review of the relevant literature, highlight the harmful impacts of immigration detention on Latina/o immigrants, and suggest the need for immigration reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Human Rights and Social Work
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Immigration
  • Immigration detention
  • Latinos
  • Latinx
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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