Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Crimmigration, Deportability and the Social Exclusion of Noncitizen Immigrants

Shirley P. Leyro, Daniel L. Stageman


The spread of crimmigration policies, practices, and rhetoric represents an "economically rational" strategy and has significant implications for the lived experience of noncitizen immigrants. This study draws up in-depth interviews of immigrants with a range of legal statuses to describe the mechanics through which immigrants internalize and respond to the fear of deportation, upon which crimmigration strategies rely. The fear of deportation and its behavioral effects extend beyond undocumented or criminally convicted immigrants, encompassing lawful permanent residents and naturalized citizens alike. This fear causes immigrants to refuse to use public services, endure labor exploitation, and avoid public spaces, resulting in social exclusion and interrupted integration, which is detrimental to US society as a whole.


Crimmigration; deportation; economic exploitation; integration; social exclusion; labor exploitation

Full Text:



Abrego, L.J. & Menjvar, C. (2011). Immigrant Latina mothers as targets of legal violence. International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 37(1), 9-26.

Alba, R. & Foner, N. (2015). Strangers no more: Immigration and the challenges of integration in North America and Western Europe. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Brotherton, D.C. (2008). Exiling New Yorkers. In D.C. Brotherton & P. Kretsedemas (Eds.), Keeping out the other: A critical introduction to immigration enforcement (pp. 161-178). New York NY: Columbia University Press.

Brotherton, D.C. & Barrios, L. (2011). Banished from the homeland. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Brown, W. (2006). American Nightmare: Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, and De-Democratization. Political Theory, 34(6) 690-714.

Cavadino, M. & Dignan, J. (2006). Penal systems: A comparative approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Castles, S., de Haas, H., & Miller, M. J. (2013). The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. New York: Guilford Press.

Davis, C., Webb, D., & Burris, S. (2013). Changing Law from Barrier to Facilitator of Opioid Overdose Prevention. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, s1:33-36.

De Genova, N. (2002). Migrant illegality and deportability in everyday life. Annual Review of Anthropology, 31, 419-47.

DeGiorgi, A. (2010). Immigration control, post-Fordism, and less eligibility: A materialist critique of the criminalization of immigration across Europe . Punishment & Society, 12, 147-167.

Gilens, M., & Page, B. I. (2014). Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics, 564-581.

Hirschel, D., Buzawa, E., Pattavina, A., Faggiani, D., & Reuland, M. (2007). Explaining the Prevalence, Context, and Consequences of Dual Arrest in Intimate Partner Cases: Final Report. Washington, DC: National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

Hoffman, J. (2017, June 26). Sick and Afraid, Some Immigrants Forgo Medical Care. Retrieved from New York Times:

Kelly, J. (2017, February 20). Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest. Retrieved from Department of Homeland Security:

Kerwin, D. M. (2013). Does Respect for Migrant Rights Contribute to Economic Development? Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute.

Lehman, C., Annisette, M., & Agyemang, G. (2016). Immigration and neoliberalism: three cases and counter accounts. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 29(1): 43-79.

Massey, D. S., Durand, J., & Malone, N. J. (2003). Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Newland, K. (2013). What We Know About Migration and Development. Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute.

Newland, K., & Plaza, S. (2013). What We Know About Diasporas and Economic Development. Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute.

Otero, G. (2011). Neoliberal Globalization, NAFTA, and Migration: Mexico's Loss of Food and Labor Sovereignty. Journal of Poverty, 15: 384-402.

Posner, E. (2013a). The Institutional Structure of Immigration Law. University of Chicago Law Review, 289-313.

Posner, E. (2013b, February 4). There's No Such Thing as an Illegal Immigrant. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from Slate:

Reitz, J.G. (1998). Warmth of the welcome: The social causes of economic success for immigrants in different nations and cities. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Root, J., Gates-Gasse, E., Shields, J., & Bauder, H. (2014). Discounting Immigrant Families: Neoliberalism and the Framing of Canadian Immigration Policy Change. RCIS Working Paper No. 2014/7: Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement.

Rusche, G. & O. Kirchheimer (1939). Punishment and social structure. New York: Columbia University Press .

Stageman, D. L. (2013). "These Illegals": Personhood, Profit, and the Political Economy of Punishment in Federal-Local Immigration Enforcement Partnerships. In D. C. Brotherton, D. L. Stageman, & S. P. Leyro, Outside Justice: Immigration and the Criminalizing Impact of Changing Policy and Practice (pp. 223-245). New York: Springer.

Stageman, D. L. (2017). Local Immigration Enforcement Entrepreneurship in the Punishment Marketplace. Retrieved from CUNY Academic Works (Doctoral Dissertation):

Varsanyi, M.W. (2008). Rescaling the alien, rescaling personhood: Neoliberalism, immigration, and the state. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 98, 877-896.

Varsanyi, M. (2011). Neoliberalism and Nativism: Local Anti-Immigrant Policy Activism and an Emerging Politics of Scale. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35(2):295-311.


  • There are currently no refbacks.