Illegal Encounters

The Effect of Detention and Deportation on Young People

256 pages

February, 2019

ISBN: 9781479861071



Add to Cart Available: 1/25/2019

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Deborah A. Boehm is Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies/Gender, Race, and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the author of Intimate Migrations: Gender, Family, and Illegality among Transnational Mexicans (NYU Press) and Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation.

All books by Deborah A. Boehm

Susan J. Terrio is Professor of Anthropology and French Studies at Georgetown University and the author of Whose Child am I?: Unaccompanied, Undocumented Children in U.S. Immigration Custody, Judging Mohammed: Juvenile Delinquency, Immigration and Exclusion at the Paris Palace of Justice and Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate.


All books by Susan J. Terrio

The impact of the U.S. immigration and legal systems on children and youth
In the United States, millions of children are undocumented migrants or have family members who came to the country without authorization. The unique challenges with which these children and youth must cope demand special attention. Illegal Encounters considers illegality, deportability, and deportation in the lives of young people—those who migrate as well as those who are affected by the migration of others.
A primary focus of the volume is to understand how children and youth encounter, move through, or are outside of a range of legal processes, including border enforcement, immigration detention, federal custody, courts, and state processes of categorization. Even if young people do not directly interact with state immigration systems—because they are U.S. citizens or have avoided detention—they are nonetheless deeply affected by the reach of the government in its many forms.
Contributors privilege the voices and everyday experiences of immigrant children and youth themselves. By combining different perspectives from advocates, service providers, attorneys, researchers, and young immigrants, the volume presents rich accounts that can contribute to informed debates and policy reforms.
Illegal Encounters sheds light on the unique ways in which policies, laws, and legal categories shape so much of daily life for young immigrants. The book makes visible the burdens, hopes, and potential of a population of young people and their families who have been largely hidden from public view and are currently under siege, following their movement through complicated immigration systems and institutions in the United States.


  • "Deborah A. Boehm and Susan J. Terrio have assembled a powerful and heart-wrenching collection of essays that elucidate the myriad ways young people’s lives are shaped, and often devastated, by the immigration laws and enforcement practices of the United States. This volume brings together the voices of leading immigration scholars, practitioners, and people directly affected by our punitive immigration laws. This assemblage of gripping narratives will be a valuable read for anyone wishing to know more about how immigration laws affect youth, and consequently, the future of this nation. Those who teach courses on immigration, race, ethnicity, children and youth, as well as justice will find this volume to be a compelling addition to their course." 

    —Tanya Golash-Boza, University of California, Merced

  • "Illegal Encounters examines the experiences of young migrants, bringing critical social, cultural, and legal perspectives to issues as current as today’s headlines. The collection of scholars is superb, and includes authors who themselves migrated to the U.S. as children. Rarely does an edited volume result in such integrated and coherent chapters to produce an instant classic that challenges what we think we know about the migration experience. Illegal Encounters is a must read for anyone interested in how young people manage the perilous journey across borders and the U.S. legal system."

    —Leo R. Chavez, author of The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation