Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Community and Family Health

Major Professor

Heide Castañeda, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Co-Major Professor

Angela Stuesse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mathew Coleman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ellen Daley, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Committee Member

Daniel Lende, Ph.D.


Biopolitics, Citizenship, Secure Communities, 287(g), Engaged Anthropology


Multilayered immigration enforcement regimes comprising state and federal statutes and local police practices demand research on their social and health-related consequences. This dissertation explores the multiple impacts of immigrant policing: sets of laws and police activities that make undocumented immigrants more visible to authorities and increase their risk of deportation. Examining immigrant policing through a multi-sited framework and drawing from principles of engaged anthropology, findings from this dissertation suggest how immigrant policing impacts undocumented immigrants' overall wellbeing, health providers' professional practice, and reveals troubles with safety net medical care. Interviews and participant observation experiences suggest how immigrant policing perpetuates a type of fear-based governance that shapes where undocumented immigrants seek health services, the types of services they seek, and exacerbates intimate partner violence. Moreover, research findings point to how immigrant rights organizations and health providers resist biopolitical efforts to control undocumented immigrants, especially in situations of life or death when institutional authority may limit how undocumented immigrants receive life-sustaining care. Findings from this research respond to calls to examine state immigration laws and their impact on health, and demonstrate the lived experiences of undocumented immigrants in Atlanta who confront an increasingly hostile immigration system.