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The Forsaken 'Out-Laws': Crime and Justice among Undocumented Migrant Workers in Palisades Park, New Jersey

Award Information

Award #
2010-IJ-CX-0005
Location
Congressional District
Status
Closed
Funding First Awarded
2010
Total funding (to date)
$111,903

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $99,843)

This research study seeks to examine the convergence of social exclusion, legal marginalization, crime, and violence on undocumented migrant workers. The administration of justice among undocumented immigrants is a daunting challenge created by the ever strengthening process of globalization, which has outpaced the ability of the federal government to devise comprehensive, effective, and politically palatable responses to the continuous inflows of illegal or undocumented immigrants. As the legal construction of illegality consigns these immigrants to the peripheries of the post-industrial economy, racial "otherness" and politico-legal depersonalization are mutually constituted in this precarious and vulnerable population of non-citizens in the constant struggle between external exploitation and internal implosion. The inquiry will follow the research approach exemplified by W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) and adopts a poly-methodological solution to investigate the origins, structures, and consequences of justice and injustice in human affairs. The purpose of this study is to explore the issue of crime and justice among undocumented migrant workers (UMW). Four specific goals are set up for this purpose: 1) to describe the prevalence and patterns of crime victimization among UMWs; 2)to identify means adopted by UMWs to identify offenders, to prevent future victimizations, and to dispense justice;
3)to examine whether and how UMWs are fairly and justly treated by local enforcement agents; and 4) to reflect on how the police-UMWs relationship could influence the broader police-community relationships and the quality of justice administration. In order to achieve these goals, four objectives will be accomplished: a) structured survey will be administered to 160 UMWs in Palisades Park, NJ; b) 32 UMWs from the same target population will be recruited for in-depth focus group interviews; c) 12 key informants will be selected from local police, activist groups, contractors who employ UMWs; and clergy closely related to UMWs and other members of the community to collect field data on social interactions. Findings from these research activities will shed light on the safety needs of this hard-to-reach population as well as potential policy options available to local governments to manage the wellbeing of their communities. ca/ncf

This project is a supplement to the project The Forsaken "Out-Laws": Crime and Justice among Undocumented Migrant Workers in Palisades Park, New Jersey (2010-IJ-CX-0005). That award was for a research study to examine the convergence of social exclusion, legal marginalization, crime, and violence on male undocumented migrant workers. The supplement seeks to add to this research by including a sample of 120 female migrant workers and examining their experiences with crime in Palisades Park, NJ.

Investigating the administration of justice among undocumented immigrants is a daunting challenge created by the ever strengthening process of globalization, which has outpaced the ability of the federal government to devise comprehensive, effective, and politically palatable responses to the continuous inflows of illegal or undocumented immigrants. As the legal construction of illegality consigns these immigrants to the peripheries of the post-industrial economy, racial "otherness" and politico-legal depersonalization are mutually constituted in this precarious and vulnerable population of non-citizens in the constant struggle between external exploitation and internal implosion. This inquiry will follow the research approach exemplified by the W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) and adopts a poly-methodological solution to investigate the origins, structures, and consequences of justice and injustice in human affairs. The continuation support of $12,060.00 will be used to collect survey data from 120 female undocumented immigrants. The inclusion of survey and focus group data from undocumented Hispanic women (UHW) will provide a much more comprehensive assessment of the crime and victimization experiences of undocumented immigrants in an American suburb. The study sample will increase by 75%, from 160 male subjects to 280 subjects (160 males and 120 females).

Data collected with this continuation will be analyzed to address the following questions: (1) How much more or less socially disadvantaged are women than men in terms of their employment, income, social support, and linguistic competence? (2) Are women more vulnerable than men to criminal victimization and/or police mistreatment? (3) What are the prevalence and correlates of sexual and violent victimization within this vulnerable group? (4) Are these victimizations intra-group or extra-group predations? (5) How widespread is the engagement in commercial sex within these immigrant women? (6) How do undocumented immigrant women protect themselves against intra-group or extra-group exploitation? Findings from these research activities will shed light on the safety needs of this hard-to-reach population as well as potential policy options available to local governments to manage the wellbeing of their communities.
nca/ncf

Date Created: September 13, 2010