Featuring Angela S. García

This lecture offers a nuanced look at how the lives of undocumented Mexicans in the United States are constantly shaped by federal, state, and local immigration laws. Angela S. García compares restrictive and accommodating immigration measures in various cities and states to show that place-based inclusion and exclusion unfold in seemingly contradictory ways. Instead of fleeing restrictive localities, undocumented Mexicans react by presenting themselves as legal, deflecting the stigma of illegality to avoid local police and federal immigration enforcement. Restrictive laws coerce assimilation, because as legal passing becomes habitual and embodied, immigrants distance themselves from their ethnic and cultural identities. In accommodating destinations, undocumented Mexicans experience a localized sense of stability and membership that is simultaneously undercut by the threat of federal immigration enforcement and complex street-level tensions with local police. Combining social theory on immigration and race as well as place and law, García uncovers the everyday failures and long-term human consequences of contemporary immigration laws in the United States.

Contact alumniassociation@uchicago.edu or 773.702.2150.

Event Details

2:00 p.m. Registration and networking
2:30 p.m. Presentation and discussion
3:30 p.m. Reception

$10/Maroon Loyalty Society member or recent graduate (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Free for current academic year graduates and current students
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Chicago, Harper, Odyssey, and Phoenix philanthropic societies

Learn more about UChicago giving societies.

Parking Information

Valet parking is available for $25 per day.

Featured Faculty


Angela S. García is a sociologist with research interests including international migration, law and society, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, social policy, and mixed and comparative methods. At the University of Chicago, she is an assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration; an associate at the Population Research Center; a fellow at the Center for Health Administration Studies; and a faculty affiliate at the Katz Center for Mexican Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. García’s book, Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law (University of California Press, 2019), examines the effects of local immigration laws from the perspective of undocumented Mexicans. Her research has earned awards from the American Sociological Association’s Section on International Migration and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. Her work on the lives of undocumented immigrants in restrictive destinations was cited in a 2015 amicus brief filed by states in support of the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) executive actions. García holds a PhD in sociology and an MA in Latin American studies from the University of California, San Diego.