Engage and Evade: How Latino Immigrant Families Manage Surveillance in Everyday Life

How everyday forms of surveillance threaten undocumented immigrants—but also offer them hope for societal inclusion


Published (US):
Jun 13, 2023
Published (UK):
Aug 8, 2023
6.12 x 9.25 in.
1 b/w illus. 12 tables.
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Some eleven million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States, carving out lives amid a growing web of surveillance that threatens their and their families’ societal presence. Engage and Evade examines how undocumented immigrants navigate complex dynamics of surveillance and punishment, providing an extraordinary portrait of fear and hope on the margins.

Asad L. Asad brings together a wealth of research, from intimate interviews and detailed surveys with Latino immigrants and their families to up-close observations of immigration officials, to offer a rare perspective on the surveillance that undocumented immigrants encounter daily. He describes how and why these immigrants engage with various institutions—for example, by registering with the IRS or enrolling their kids in public health insurance programs—that the government can use to monitor them. This institutional surveillance feels both necessary and coercive, with undocumented immigrants worrying that evasion will give the government cause to deport them. Even so, they hope their record of engagement will one day help them prove to immigration officials that they deserve societal membership. Asad uncovers how these efforts do not always meet immigration officials’ high expectations, and how surveillance is as much about the threat of exclusion as the promise of inclusion.

Calling attention to the fraught lives of undocumented immigrants and their families, this superbly written and compassionately argued book proposes wide-ranging, actionable reforms to achieve societal inclusion for all.

The everyday surveillance of undocumented immigrants

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the Edwin H. Sutherland Book Award, Law and Society Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • Winner of the Best Book Award, Latino/a Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the Robert J. Bursik Junior Scholar Award, American Society of Criminology
  • Honorable Mention for the Herbert Jacob Book Prize, Law and Society Association
  • Honorable Mention for the Otis Dudley Duncan Book Award, Population Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki Book Award, International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • Finalist for the Foreword INDIES, Political and Social Sciences Category