Dreams and Nightmares takes a critical look at the challenges and dilemmas of immigration policy and practice in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. The experiences of children and youth provide a prism through which the interwoven dynamics and consequences of immigration policy become apparent. Using a unique sociolegal perspective, authors Zatz and Rodriguez examine the mechanisms by which immigration policies and practices mitigate or exacerbate harm to vulnerable youth. They pay particular attention to prosecutorial discretion, assessing its potential and limitations for resolving issues involving parental detention and deportation, unaccompanied minors, and Dreamers who came to the United States as young children. The book demonstrates how these policies and practices offer a means of prioritizing immigration enforcement in ways that alleviate harm to children, and why they remain controversial and vulnerable to political challenges.
1. Introduction and Historical Context
2. Prosecutorial Discretion: A Mechanism for Balancing Competing Goals
3. Legislative Inaction and Executive Action: Mixed Status Families, the Dreamer Movement, and DACA
4. Families Torn Apart: Parental Detention and Deportation
5. No Good Options: Unaccompanied Minors in the US Immigration System
6. Conclusions and Recommendations
Marjorie S. Zatz is Vice Provost and Graduate Dean and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced.
Nancy Rodriguez is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University.
“Dreams and Nightmares is a must-read for anyone interested in U.S. immigration policy and the potential for meaningful reform. The book’s focus on children and on prosecutorial discretion fills important gaps in the literature. It is beautifully written and accessible, and it combines insightful analysis of the structural contradictions shaping immigration policy with attention to the human consequences for those living the dreams and the nightmares.”—Kitty Calavita, coauthor with Valerie Jenness of Appealing to Justice: Prisoner Grievances, Rights, and Carceral Logic (UC Press).
“Reaches out to people engaged in the front lines and pulls their perspectives and voices into the mix. This work presents information of such a range that almost all readers will find aspects that are new to them.”—David B. Thronson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law
“This is the only current academic work that juxtaposes our broken immigration statute against the real-time experiences of undocumented children and families. Through compelling research into our country’s increasing reliance on executive orders rather than congressional action, coupled with first person narratives of migrants, the authors accurately define the sweep and history of the problem. Their data-driven, multidiscipline approach is rare, as are their proposed changes to better protect migrant families while upholding our national political and economic imperatives. Dreams and Nightmares is an innovative, thoughtful, and welcome addition to the field.”—Roxana Bacon, Former Chief Counsel, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service