Book review: “Sacrificing Families” by Leisy J. Abrego


pid_20152Earlier this year I got the opportunity to read and review Leisy Abrego’s Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across BordersLeisy Abrego is an amazing professor at UCLA’s Chicana/o Studies Department. Her research and teaching interests include gender, U.S. immigration law, Central American immigration, and Latina/o families. She has written several articles on the lived experiences of undocumented youth (see e.g. “Legitimacy, Social Identity, and the Mobilization of Law: The Effects of Assembly Bill 540 on Undocumented Students”).

I highly recommend this book to fellow undocumented folks. The life stories of migrants featured in this book are both heart-wrenching and eye-opening. Scholars within the areas of transnational migration and undocumented immigration will also find Abrego’s book to be highly informative about the unique and complex circumstances affecting the experiences of Central American migrants.

Here’s a preview of my review on Sacrificing Families:

“In the context of an unequal global economy, families increasingly have to make the difficult decision to migrate as a strategy for survival, which leads to family separation. In 2014, family separation came to the forefront of the contemporary immigration debate as over 50,000 migrants from Central America presented themselves at the US–Mexican border seeking humanitarian asylum. Some women and children migrated to reunite with their families, while many others were forced to leave their families behind as they travelled alone to escape violence or search for work. In Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders, Leisy Abrego vividly captures the far-reaching effects of family separation. She makes important contributions to the literature on transnational migration, undocumented immigration, as well as on family and childhood studies. By conducting over 100 in-depth interviews with parents in the USA who made the decision to migrate there, Abrego analyses the structural forces that shape parents’ decisions to migrate, their journeys, and the challenges they continue to face even upon arrival to the USA. While Abrego was only able to talk to both parents and children from the same family in ten cases, she interviewed children whose parents have migrated to the USA to explore how family separation affects them.”

To read the full review, please visit the Ethnic and Racial Studies journal.

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Categories: Publications

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