A timely look at the inhumane effects of immigration policies in the United States.
Tucson Weekly columnist Regan, who told harrowing tales of immigrants trying to cross from Mexico into Arizona in her previous book, The Death of Josseline (2010), here turns to the treatment of undocumented immigrants who succeeded in making it across the border. As before, the author relates individuals’ specific experiences while revealing the policies and the institutions that impact their lives and determine their fates. She is deeply sympathetic to the plight of undocumented workers caught in a system that profits from their incarceration and treats them with indifference at best and inhumanity at worst. The first portion of the book focuses on detention, the next on deportation and the last on resistance to the system. While the author writes of outrageous conditions, this book is not a rant. The facts she straightforwardly presents inform readers of the harsh, prisonlike conditions at detention centers operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America, specifically ones at Eloy and Florence, Arizona. It comes as no surprise to learn that the Eloy center has the nation’s highest rate of inmate deaths due to suicide or medical neglect. Regan also reveals the anguish of parents abruptly separated from their children—legal citizens of the United States—and deported to Mexico, where they have not lived in years and have no ties. The book’s few bright spots include accounts of pro bono lawyers trying to untangle the web of immigration laws and of volunteer groups like Casa Mariposa, which provides food and shelter to newly liberated detainees dumped by authorities at Tucson’s isolated bus station.
Together, Regan’s books bring into focus the fates of undocumented people fighting against the odds to make it into America and then, if they get here, struggling, and often failing, to build a life.