Laying low: Fear and injustice for latino migrants to smalltown, USA

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Latinos migrate to Smalltown (pseudonym), USA in search of the American Dream. Instead, they face an oppressive situation in which they struggle to make ends meet. This paper presents focused findings from an ethnographic study with a migrant Latino community in North Carolina. Analyses of participant observations and semi-structured interviews revealed that migrants to Smalltown experience fear, discrimination, and exploitation due to government policies and anti-immigrant sentiment. Section 287(g) and the REAL ID Act cause migrants to face the possibility of detention and deportation when driving. Mistrust in government institutions and law enforcement precipitate a climate of fear that prevents migrants from accessing services or seeking help. The persistent threat of deportation causes migrants to withdraw from meaningful occupations and to alter their engagement in required occupations. Feelings of hopelessness discourage self-advocacy and encourage exploitation by employers. Migrants lay low and stay out of sight and thereby experience occupational deprivation and imbalance. The paper suggests that occupational scientists should engage political arenas to highlight the unanticipated effects of government policies on occupational participation. The paper provides a critique of occupational justice concepts and presents a rationale for applying an occupational perspective to analyze the socio-political implications of public policy. © 2013 The Journal of Occupational Science Incorporated.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bailliard, A

Published Date

  • October 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 342 - 356

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2158-1576

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1442-7591

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/14427591.2013.799114

Citation Source

  • Scopus