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Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 00, No. 0, 2011, pp. 1--18 This paper is part of an ASAP special collection on Social Psychology and Contemporary Immigration Policy Lowell Immigrant Communities in the Climate of Deportations Jana Sl´adkov´a, Sandra M. Garc´ ıa Mangado, and Johana Reyes Quinteros University of Massachusetts, Lowell In the climate of increased anti-immigrant sentiment, deportations of immigrants from the United States are on the upsurge. This article begins with a review of current immigration laws enabling detentions and deportations of undocumented immigrants, as well as permanent legal residents with a prior criminal conviction. It then explores how immigrants and refugees interact with this national climate in Lowell, Massachusetts, a traditional immigrant city in the Northeast of the United States. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions have clearly had an impact on Lowell. Our findings indicate that fear and mistrust of local authorities is driving behavior of immigrants, who are reluctant to seek medical services or to report violence to the police, whom they suspect of collaborating with ICE. “Immigration authorities deported a record 392,862 immigrants over the last year, Home- land Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.” (Preston, 2010, October 6) The United States is engaged in a tense debate about immigration policy. Some states, such as Arizona, are enacting their own laws, which overwhelmingly focus on punitive enforcement and take measures to tighten controls over immigra- tion. Nevertheless, communities far from the U.S.–Mexico border are also affected by the increase in deportations. As the numbers in the above quote indicate, the government has focused on detaining and deporting immigrants whom they find undesirable either because they are in the United States without authorization or because they have past criminal convictions. Several recent studies and re- ports focus on the impact of those deportations on immigrants and their families, Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jana Sl´adkov´a, De- partment of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854 [e-mail: [email protected]]. This paper was made possible with the support of a grant by the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 1 DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01253.x C 2011 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
2 Sl´adkov ´a, Mangado, and Quinteros children, and communities (i.e., Capps, Casta˜neda, Chaudry, & Santos, 2007; Chaudry et al., 2010; Hagan, Eschbach, & Rodriguez, 2008; Kremer, Moccio, & Hammell, 2009; Leitner Center, 2010; Nessel, 2008). Nevertheless, there is still limited knowledge about the broader range of strategies immigrants use to understand and interact with their current environment. Our study examines how immigrants in Lowell, Massachusetts, interact with the environment of increased threat of detention and deportation.

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