Episode: "Undocumented Fears" with Jamie Longazel

"Undocumented Fears" with Jamie Longazel

The Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA), passed in the small Rustbelt city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 2006, was a local ordinance that laid out penalties for renting to or hiring undocumented immigrants and declared English the city's official language. The notorious IIRA gained national prominence and kicked off a parade of local and state-level legislative initiatives designed to crack down on undocumented immigrants. In his cogent and timely book, Undocumented Fears, Jamie Longazel uses the debate around Hazleton's controversial ordinance as a case study that reveals the mechanics of contemporary divide and conquer politics. He shows how neoliberal ideology, misconceptions about Latina/o immigrants, and nostalgic imagery of "Small Town, America" led to a racialized account of an undocumented immigrant "invasion," masking the real story of a city beset by large-scale loss of manufacturing jobs.

Jamie Longazel is Assistant Professor of Sociology and a Human Rights Center Research Fellow at the University of Dayton and co-author (with Benjamin Fleury-Steiner) of The Pains of Mass Imprisonment.

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