Home, Interrupted

Crises of Social Reproduction, Mutual Aid, and the Transformation of Place in the Aftermath of an Immigration Arrest

  • Geoffrey Boyce Earlham College
Keywords: Immigration, policing, dispossession, social reproduction, mutual aid, abolition


When a U.S. resident is arrested by immigration authorities, significant financial losses immediately begin to accumulate to themselves and to their immediate family.  Drawing on a survey of 125 households in Pima County, AZ, this paper examines the scope of these financial losses; the strategies that household members deploy to absorb and manage these losses; and their downstream repercussions for those activities and infrastructures associated with everyday and generational household social reproduction. Attention to these issues foregrounds the collective dimensions of harm – e.g., how the destabilizing effects of arrest, detention and/or deportation are never experienced by any individual in isolation, but rather multiply across those persons and relationships of dependency, care and support to whom these individuals remain connected over time.  Given the disproportionate concentration of U.S. immigration policing on communities of Latin American origin, these outcomes carry important implications for the articulation of everyday conditions of labor, inequality and accumulation under racial capitalism.  At the same time, people respond to the disruption of relationships of home and family through new practices, relationships and institutions of mutual aid, solidarity and struggle.  What results is movement: novel patterns of collective life that transform the very communities whose members the state is attempting to violently separate.  By exploring this latter dynamic, the paper contributes to emerging literatures on carceral and abolition geographies, connecting everyday conditions of social reproduction and the production and circulation of value to a broader dialectic of community resistance against state violence and material dispossession.


Abrego, Leisy J. and Roberto G. Gonzales. 2010. “Blocked Paths, Uncertain Futures: The Postsecondary Education and Labor Market Prospects of Undocumented Latino Youth.” Journal of Education of Students Placed at Risk 15, no. 1: 144-157.

Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina, Esther Arenas-Arroyo and Almudena Sevilla. 2018. “Immigration Enforcement and Economic Resources of Children with Likely Unauthorized Parents.” Journal of Public Economics 158: 63-78.

Boyce, Geoffrey A. and Sarah Launius. 2020. “The Household Financial Losses Triggered by an Immigration Arrest, and How State and Local Government Can Most Effectively Protect Their Constituents.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 8, no. 4: 301-317.

Boyce, Geoffrey A., Sarah Launius and Adam O. Aguirre. 2019. “Drawing the Line: Spatial Strategies of Community and Resistance in Post-SB1070 Arizona.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 18, no. 1: 187-216.

Brabeck, Kalina and Qingwen Xu. 2010. “The Impact of Detention and Deportation on Latino Immigrant Children and Families: A Quantitative Exploration.” Hispanic Journal of Behabioral Sciences 32, no. 3: 341-361.

Capps, Randy, Heather Koball, James D. Bachmeier, Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Jie Zong and Julia Gelatt. 2016. Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents: Analysis of DAPA’s Potential Effects on Families and Children. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute and Urban Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/deferred-action-unauthorized-immigrant-parents-analysis-dapas-potential-effects-families

Cassidy, Kathryn, Paul Griffin and Felicity Wray. 2020. “Labour, Carcerality and Punishment:‘Less-than-Human’ Labour Landscapes.” Progress in Human Geography 44, no. 6: 1081-1102.

Chaudry, Ajay, Randolph Capps, Juan Pedroza, Rosa Maria Castañeda, Robery Santos and Molly M. Scott. 2010. Facing our Future: Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement. Urban Institute. https://www.urban.org/research/publication/facing-our-future

Coddington, Kate, Deirdre Conlon and Lauren L. Martin. 2020. “Destitution Economies: Circuits of Value in Asylum, Refugee, and Migration Control.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 110, no. 5: 1425-1444.

Conlon, Deirdre and Nick Gill. 2015. “Guest Editorial: Interventions in Migration and Activism.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 14, no. 2: 442-451.

Churchill, Ward. 2004. Genocide by Any Other Name: North American Indian Residential Schools in Context. In Genocide, War Crimes and the West: History and Complicity, edited by Adam Jones, 78-115. New York: Zed Books.

Davis, Angela. 2011. Are Prisons Obsolete?. New York: Seven Stories Press.

Davis, Angela. 1981. “The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective.” https://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/davis-angela/housework.htm

De Trinidad Young, Maria-Elena, Gabriela León-Pérez, Christine R. Wells and Steven P. Wallace. 2018. “More Inclusive States, Less Poverty Among Immigrants? An Examination of Poverty, Citizenship Stratification, and State Immigrant Policies.” Population Research Policy Review 37, no. 2: 205-228.

deVuono-Powell, Saneta, Chris Schweidler, Alicia Walters and Azadeh Zohrabi. 2015. Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families. Oakland, CA: Ella Baker Center and Forward Together. http://whopaysreport.org/

Dreby, Joanna. 2012. “The Burdens of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 74, no. 4: 829-845.

Enriquez, Laura E. 2015. “Multigenerational Punishment: Shared Experiences of Undocumented Immigration Status Within Mixed-Status Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 77, no. 4: 939-953.

Escobar, Martha D. 2016. Captivity Beyond Prisons: Criminalization Experiences of Latina (Im)migrants. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Gahman, Levi and Elise Hjalmarson. 2019. “Border Imperialism, Racial Capitalism, and Geographies of Deracination.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 18, no. 1: 107-129.

Gelatt, Julia, Heather Koball, Hamutal Bernstein, Charmaine Runes and Eleanor Pratt. 2017. “State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How they Impact Low-Income Households.” Washington, DC: Urban Institute. https://www.urban.org/research/publication/state-immigration-enforcement-policies

Geronimus, Arline T., Margaret Hicken, Danya Keene and John Bound. 2006. “‘Weathering’ and Age Patterns of Allostatic Load Scores Among Blacks and Whites in the United States.” American journal of public health 96, no. 5: 826-833.

Gill, Nick, Deirdre Conlon, Dominique Moran and Andrew Burridge. 2018. “Carceral Circuitry: New Directions in Carceral Geography.” Progress in Human Geography 42, no. 2: 183-204.

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 2017. Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence. In Futures of Black Radicalism, edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson & Alex Lubin, 225-240. New York: Verso.

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 2007. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Hall, Stuart. 1990. The Whites of their Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media. In The Media Reader, edited by Manuel Alvarado and John O. Thompson, 7-23. London: British Film Institute.

Heynen, Nik and Megan Ybarra. 2021. “On Abolition Ecologies and Making ‘Freedom as a Place’.” Antipode 53, no. 1: 21-35.

Johnson, Richard Lee and Murphy Woodhouse. 2018. “Securing the Return: How Enhanced US Border Enforcement Fuels Cycles of Debt Migration.” Antipode 50, no. 4: 976-996.

Kerwin, Donald, Daniela Alulema and Mike Nicholson. 2018. “Communities in Crisis: Interior Removals and Their Human Consequences.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 4: 226-242.

Kocher, Austin. 2020. “Why Data on New Deportation Cases Is More Revealing than Actual Deportations.” Medium, August 13. https://medium.com/@austinkocher/why-data- on-new-deportation-cases-is-more-important-than-depor tations-9f47136fcb87.

Launius, Sarah and Geoffrey A. Boyce. 2021. “More than Metaphor: Settler Colonialism, Frontier Logic, and the Continuities of Racialized Dispossession in a Southwest US City.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 111, no. 1: 157-174.

Lee, Alison Elizabeth. 2018. “US-Mexico Border Militarization and Violence: Dispossession of Undocumented Laboring Classes from Puebla, Mexico.” Migraciones Internacionales 9, no. 4: 211-238.

López, Ruth M. and Yalidy Matos. 2018. “Latinx Education Under Attack: The Implications of Immigration Policy for Education.” Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 12, no. 3: 148-168.

Lopez, William D., Daniel J. Kruger, Jorge Delva, Mikel Llanes, Charo Ledón, Adreanne Waller, Melanie Harner, Ramiro Martinez, Laura Sanders, Margaret Harner and Barbara Israel. 2017. “Health Implications of an Immigration Raid: Findings from a Latino Community in the Midwestern United States.” Journal of immigrant and minority health 19, no. 3: 702-708.

Loyd, Jenna M. and Andrew Burridge. 2007. “La Gran Marcha: Anti-Racism and Immigrants Rights in Southern California.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 6, no. 1: 1-35.

Luibhéid, Eithne. 2002. Entry denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Marks, Brian. 2012. “Autonomist Marxist Theory and Practice in the Current Crisis.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 11, no. 3: 467-491.

Martin, Lauren. 2020. “Carceral Economies of Migration Control.” Progress in Human Geography 45, no. 4: 740-757.

Martinez, Lisa M. 2014. “Dreams Deferred: The Impact of Legal Reforms on Undocumented Latino Youth.” American Behavioral Scientist 58, no. 14: 1873-1890.

Massey, Douglas S., Pren, Karen A. and Jorge Durand. 2016. “Why Border Enforcement Backfired.” American Journal of Sociology 121, no. 5: 1557–1600.

Moran, Dominique, Marie A. Hutton, Louise Dixon and Tom Disney. 2017. “‘Daddy is a Difficult Word for Me to Hear’: Carceral Geographies of Parenting and the Prison Visiting Room as a Contested Space of Situated Fathering.” Children's geographies 15, no. 1: 107-121.

Nichols, Vanessa Cruz, Alana M.W. LeBrón and Francisco I. Pedraza. 2018. “Policing Us Sick: the Health of Latinos in an Era of Heightened Deportations and Racialized Policing.” PS: Political Science & Politics 51, no. 2: 293-297.

Patler, Caitlin. 2015.  The Economic Impacts of Long-Term Immigration Detention in Southern California. Irvine, CA: IRLE. https://irle.ucla.edu/old/publications/documents/CaitlinPatlerReport_Full.pdf

Patler, Caitlin and Tanya Maria Golash-Boza. 2017. “The Fiscal and Human costs of Immigration Detention and Deportation in the United States.” Sociology Compass 11, no. 11: p.e. 12536.

Perreira, Krista M. and India Ornelas, 2013. “Painful Passages: Traumatic Experiences and Post-Traumatic Stress Among U.S. Immigrant Latino Adolescents and their Primary Caregivers.” International Migration Review 47, no. 4: 976-1005.

Perry, Armon R. and Mikia Bright. 2012. “African American Fathers and Incarceration: Paternal Involvement and Child Outcomes.” Social Work in Public Health 27, no. 1-2: 187–203.

Pratt, Geraldine. 2012. Families Apart: Migrant Mothers and the Conflicts of Labor and Love. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Pulido, Laura. 2017. “Geographies of Race and Ethnicity II: Environmental Racism, Racial Capitalism and State-Sanctioned Violence.” Progress in Human Geography 41, no. 4: 524–533.

Ramírez, Margo M., 2020. “City as borderland: Gentrification and the Policing of Black and Latinx Geographies in Oakland.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 38, no. 1: 147-166.

Roediger, David R. and Elizabeth D. Esch. 2012. The Production of Difference: Race and the Management of Labor in US History. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rojas-Flores, Lisseth, Mari L. Clements, J. Hwang Koo and Judy London. 2017. “Trauma and Psychological Distress in Latino Citizen Children Following Parental Detention and Deportation.” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 9, no. 3: 352-361

Romero, Rosalba and Cesar López. 2014. Apartheid in Arizona: When ICE and Criminal Justice Converge. In ¡Presente!: Latin@ Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice, edited by Cristina Tzintzun, Carlos P. de Alejo and Arnulfo Manriquez, 61-72. Oakland: AK Press.

Roy, Ananya. 2019. “The City in the Age of Trumpism: From Sanctuary to Abolition.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 37, no. 5: 761-778.

Rugh, Jacob S. and Matthew Hall. 2016. “Deporting the American Dream: Immigration Enforcement and Latino Foreclosures.” Sociological Science. 3: 1053-1076

Sandoval, Edgar. 2019. “Examining the Everyday for Immigration Politics.” Societyandspace.org https://www.societyandspace.org/articles/examining-the-everyday-for-immigration-politics

Strauss, Kendra and Katie Meehan. 2015. Introduction: New Frontiers in Life’s Work. In Precarious Worlds: Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction, edited by Katie Meehan & Kendra Strauss, 1-24. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta, 2016. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

Taylor, Paul, Mark Hugo Lopez, Jeffrey S. Passel and Seth Motel. 2011. “Unauthorized Immigrants: Length of Residency, Patterns of Parenthood.” Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2011/12/01/unauthorized-immigrants-length-of-residency-patterns-of-parenthood/

Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse. 2021. “State and County Details on Deportation Proceedings in U.S. Immigration Court.” https://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/nta/

United States Department of Homeland Security. 2020. “Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2019.” https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2019

Wang, Jackie. 2018. Carceral Capitalism. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e).

Wang, Julia Shu-Huah and Neeraj Kaushal. 2019. “Health and Mental Health Effects of Local Immigration Enforcement.” International Migration Review 53, no. 4: 970-1001

Warren, Robert and Donald Kerwin. 2017. “Mass Deportations Would Impoverish US Families and Create Immense Social Costs.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 5, no. 1: 1-8.

Ybarra, Megan. 2021. “Site Fight! Toward the Abolition of Immigrant Detention on Tacoma’s Tar Pits (and Everywhere Else).” Antipode 53, no. 1: 36-55.

Zayas, Luis H., Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Hyunwoo Yoo, and Guillermina Natera Rey. 2015. “The Distress of Citizen-Children with Detained and Deported Parents.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 24, no. 11: 3213-3223.
How to Cite
Boyce, G. (2021). Home, Interrupted. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 20(6), 618-636. Retrieved from https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/2052
SI - Carceral Geographies and Policing (eds. Boyce, Massaro & Christian)