Challenge

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Racialization of Illegality in America is Harmful

The racialization of illegality brings social divisions within Latina/o groups, reproducing centuries-old systems of oppression where whiteness is equated with protections given to citizens, while “looking Mexican” or “Hispanic” leaves Indigenous-origin immigrants and non-white Latina/os at the hands of immigration control. We need to rethink these systems of oppression nation wide.
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Nature and Context

Immigration laws, judiciary hearings, and enforcement strategies produce the racialization of illegality, linking “illegality” to homogenized and stereotypical images of “Mexican,” “Hispanic,” and “Latina/o” origin. Immigration scholars have shown the transgressions produced by the racialization of illegality on Latina/o immigrants and non-immigrants who fit these stereotypes. How do Latina/o immigrants of different ethnic origins navigate the racialization of illegality? What strategies do they employ to manage risks associated with illegality? We must further examine the salience of race and the active role that the body plays within Latina/o immigrants’ experiences with the immigration regime. .

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