Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-2018


Migrants who establish connections in the host culture, particularly through nonprofit organizations, are more likely to integrate successfully into host societies (Martinez Garcia and Jariego 2002). Yet, anthropologist Maria Olivia Salcido and sociologist Cecilia Menjívar have noted, “gender hierarchies are embedded in the formulation, interpretation, and implementation of immigration laws, as experienced by immigrants” (2013:336). Our research, which compares two field sites in Apopka, Florida and Barcelona, Catalonia, demonstrates that despite the presence of vibrant organizations in both places, legal barriers in the U.S. hamper social integration by preventing women from accessing basic services necessary for survival. The criminalization of migration in the U.S. forces Apopka migrants into what Giorgio Agamben has called “bare life,” living in a political system that both criminalizes their presence and excludes them from the benefits offered to citizens (Agamben 1998). In Barcelona, however, political autonomy within the Catalonian region has motivated local governments to offer greater support to migrants than is true for Spain more generally. While migration produces gendered vulnerabilities exacerbated in situations where women lack support networks, ethnographies of local migrant women in both places reveal these vulnerabilities can be reduced by cooperation between non-profits and local governments.

Publication Title

Faculty Publications