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Book Launch: "Living Illegal, The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration"

Spotlighting Latino migrants in the South, Living “Illegal” humanizes an issue too frequently distorted by media oversimplification. Both journalistic narrative and policy white paper, the book suggests constructive ways to transcend the legal-vs.-illegal shouting match.

Date & Time

Apr. 6, 2012
9:00am – 10:30am ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program and Mexico Institute hosted the launch of:

Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration

By Marie Friedman Marquardt, Timothy J. Steigenga, Philip Williams, and Manuel Vásquez

With Panelists:

Timothy J. Steigenga, Professor of political science and chair of the social sciences and humanities, Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University

Philip Williams, Director of the Center for Latin American Studies and Professor of Political Science, University of Florida


Jacqueline Hagan, Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Donald Kerwin, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute

Moderated by:

Andrew Selee, Director, Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute

Living “Illegal” challenges the myths and misconceptions that circulate about unauthorized immigrants, reminding readers that there is a great deal more to understand about “illegal” than we hear in popular rhetoric. Based on years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured stories of real people—working, building families, and enriching their communities, even as the political climate grows more hostile. Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal” challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. The narrative takes readers into Southern churches, the fields of Florida, neighborhood day-labor centers, street protests, and back and forth across different national boundaries to tell the human stories behind unauthorized immigration, explore responses in various receiving communities, and suggest a path forward for the country’s otherwise frozen immigration debate.

Copies of the book may be orderedhere.


Hosted By

Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.