Central American immigrant workers and legal violence in Phoenix, Arizona

Cecilia Menjívar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This article examines how a multi-pronged legal regime, composed of laws at the federal, state and local levels (including those that apply specifically to Central Americans), shapes the everyday lives of Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans in Phoenix, Arizona, with special attention to the ambit of work. The article is based on longitudinal qualitative fieldwork and 78 in-depth interviews conducted over a decade in the Phoenix metro area. It argues that the experiences of Central Americans during the years of direct political violence in their home countries help to shed light on their experiences as workers in the United States. Using the lens of legal violence to help retrieve the "excesses" of the law and its implementation today, the article highlights Central American immigrant workers' experiences of abuses in the workplace and an overall context of fear that encroach on their rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-252
Number of pages25
JournalLatino Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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