Illegality in the Heartland examines the consequences of an amplified immigration enforcement with a local limited healthcare infrastructure that combine to reproduce legal violence manifesting on Latin American immigrants’ health, access to care, and community participation. Dr. Gómez Cervantes presents data from interviews and focus groups conducted in Kansas between 2016 to 2019. Fear and anxiety about the deportation of themselves and their family members generate apprehension about contacting medical institutions, driving, and spending time in public spaces. But accessing care is also gendered. As a result, these circumstances coalesce in women’s lives to block access to medical care and undermine women’s roles in their communities. Following gendered expectations, women turn to their informal networks to seek health care for their families. In the context that the enforcement regime has created, these ties can turn exploitative. Dr. Gómez Cervantes will also discuss how the immigration regime has created arduous health disparities and mistrust of institutions, persistent during the pandemic that have led to Latinos facing some of the highest rates of COVID-19 impacts.
Migration Research Dialogues