The Macksey Journal


Following the inauguration of President Trump, communities are witnessing an increase of vocal anti-immigrant sentiment. Immigration enforcement is moving away from solely the border and into the heartland of America, spreading throughout the Midwest states. Latinx communities, particularly, are experiencing this escalation of immigration enforcement, which has been characterized by hypermilitarized activity and a return to local police collaboration. While the increase in interior immigration enforcement is perhaps unique in scale, state violence against communities of color has historical precedents in the U.S., including in Black and Arab and Muslim communities. We consider the experiences of immigration enforcement, police violence, and surveillance across Latinx, Black, and Arab and Muslim communities. We find that state violence across these communities is often justified in similar ways, including the construction of narratives that position communities of color as 1) violent threats to safety and health of the public and 2) threats to the white, Christian, “American” way of life. As a result of racist interactions and targeting by government representatives, communities are less willing to engage with government systems and services. Advocates should consider the recurring patterns and effects of enforcement across underrepresented communities. Finally, we must broaden our understanding of health to reflect the environmental and systemic factors influencing the well being of marginalized groups.