Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 00, No. 0, 2011, pp. 1--18This paperis partofan ASAP specialcollection on SocialPsychology and ContemporaryImmigration PolicyLowell Immigrant Communities in the Climateof DeportationsJana Sl´adkov´a,∗Sandra M. Garc´ıa Mangado, and Johana Reyes QuinterosUniversity of Massachusetts, LowellIn the climate of increased anti-immigrant sentiment, deportations of immigrantsfrom the United States are on the upsurge.This article begins with a review ofcurrent immigration laws enabling detentions and deportations of undocumentedimmigrants, as well as permanent legal residents with a prior criminal conviction.It then explores how immigrants and refugees interact with this national climate inLowell, Massachusetts, a traditional immigrant city in the Northeast of the UnitedStates.The Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) actions have clearlyhad an impact on Lowell.Our findings indicate that fear and mistrust of localauthorities is driving behavior of immigrants, who are reluctant to seek medicalservices or to report violence to the police, whom they suspect of collaboratingwith 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 aboutimmigration policy.Some states, such as Arizona, are enacting their own laws, which overwhelminglyfocus on punitive enforcement and take measures to tighten controls over immigra-tion. Nevertheless, communities far from the U.S.–Mexico border are also affectedby the increase in deportations. As the numbers in the above quote indicate, thegovernment has focused on detaining and deporting immigrants whom they findundesirable either because they are in the United States withoutauthorizationor because they have pastcriminalconvictions.Severalrecentstudies and re-ports focus on the impact of those deportations on immigrants and their families,∗CorrespondenceconcerningthisarticleshouldbeaddressedtoJanaSl´adkov´a,De-partmentofPsychology,UniversityofMassachusettsLowell,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 ofMassachusetts, Amherst.1DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01253.xC2011 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
2Sl´adkov ´a, Mangado, and Quinteroschildren,and communities (i.e.,Capps,Casta˜neda,Chaudry,& Santos,2007;Chaudry etal.,2010;Hagan,Eschbach,& Rodriguez,2008; Kremer, Moccio,& Hammell,2009;Leitner Center,2010;Nessel,2008).Nevertheless,there isstill limited knowledge about the broader range of strategies immigrants use tounderstand and interact with their current environment. Our study examines howimmigrants in Lowell, Massachusetts, interact with the environment of increasedthreat of detention and deportation.