migration: undocumented/illegal 3033

such as regulating the patterns of skill transfer,
household decision making, labor market seg
mentation dynamics, networking, and resi
dential location choice. These studies debunk
some of the myths on migration in general and
illegal migration in particular by addressing
issues pertinent to female migration, kinship
relations, and the interconnections among gen
der, class, and race. The issues addressed in
these studies, usually grounded in feminist the
oretical analysis, vary from general gender
migration theory, international labor migra
tion, transnationalism, construction of national
identity, participation in immigrant politics,
citizenship, refugees, and gendered work, to
emigration and household reproduction. The
analytical frameworks, although unique to each
study, address several dimensions: (1) the impli
cations on policymaking and networking at the
international and national levels, taking into
account specific ideological, political, and socio
economic constraints; (2) the importance of
women at the center of economic production as
well as social reproduction, not only in research
but also in policymaking; (3) the analytic model
of reconciling structure and agency with the
importance of gender (Giddenss structuration
model); (4) recognizing that families are impor
tant actors in the migration process and most
important for the analysis of female migration
whether this involves migration of the whole
family, reunification, improvement of the family
economic status, or reliance on the family for
support; (5) the concept of mothering and
motherhood as a central issue for mothers,
who migrate often in search of better condi
tions for their children whom they leave behind
with extended family members; (6) the role
of kinship support, and of gendered aspects of
household survival in shaping migration
work, which varies by class (Willis & Yeoh
2000). For example, the limited data available
on undocumented Mexican immigrant women
follows the bulk of migration studies in focusing
on the USMexico borderlands of the South
west and California. Broadening the scope of
inquiry beyond the borderlands poses signifi
cant questions about extrapolating from existent
data, and may identify emerging second
stage migration patterns that should be incorpo
rated into immigration analyses (Andrews et al.
Thousands of people living without status in
different parts of the world face the fear and
very real threat of deportation or imprison
ment. This situation prevents many people of
low social status not only from obtaining
decent employment, but also from using ser
vices such as social housing, education, health
care, social assistance, and emergency services,
including police protection. An example is the
1994 Proposition 187 in California, barring
illegal immigrants from non emergency health
care and public schooling (the proposition was
later found to be unconstitutional) and the
various reports presented by undocumented
women (Tastsoglou & Hadjicostandi 2003).
The DADT (Dont Ask Dont Tell) Toronto
Campaign is a policy which presents a local solu
tion to the problem by preventing city employees
from inquiring about the immigration status of
people accessing city services. Also, it prohibits
city employees from sharing information with
federal and provincial enforcement agencies,
including the Department of Citizenship and
Immigration Canada (CIC), on the immigration
status of anyone accessing city services (Hobbs &
Sauer 2005) This policy represents a recognition
of some of the most pressing theoretical and
practical concerns of transnational anti racist
feminist solidarity, which would provide all
workers, including illegal workers, with a struc
ture of dignity and societal inclusion. Transna
tional feminist solidarity work must be attentive
to the different ways that nations are imagined
and constructed by sexist and racist immigration
policies, within a national landscape that is
experienced very differently according to a per
sons identity.

SEE ALSO: Class, Status, and Power; Dis
crimination; Diversity; Family Migration;
Inequality/Stratification, Gender; Migration:
International; Migration and the Labor Force;
Race; Race and Ethnic Consciousness; Race
(Racism); Uneven Development


Andrews, T. J., Ybarra, V. D., & Miramontes, T.
(2002) Negotiating Survival: Undocumented Mex-
ican Immigrant Women in the Pacific Northwest.
Social Science Journal 39(3): 431 49.