The “Poli-Migra”: Multilayered Legislation, Enforcement Practices, and What We Can Learn About and From Today’s Approaches

Cecilia Menjívar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


This article discusses what we know about immigration law in the lives of Latinos today and what we learn from this knowledge to possibly establish links beyond specific case studies. We know a great deal about the multilayered enforcement regime in place today—the federal, state, and local level laws and ordinances and the various enforcement strategies—which act all at once in highly articulated fashion to affect the lives of immigrants, their families, and communities. What we learn from this accumulated knowledge—the unevenness of enforcement across contexts, the heterogeneity of experiences among Latinos as not all are affected in the same way, and the short- and possible long-term effects—can be helpful for theorizing more broadly about immigrant incorporation and can also serve to formulate sound policy reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1805-1819
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 8 2014



  • contradictions in law
  • federal law
  • multilayered system
  • state-level laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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