About the Artists

Dalia Harris

Name: Dalia Harris
A Little About Me: I’m an Afro-Latinx freelance illustrator, currently studying Gender & Health with a minor in Art & Design at UMich. I love art and being able to connect with people and tell stories.
My Connection to this Work: As a Latinx, there’s no doubt that ICE has a very profound impact on my community. They have directly affected my friends and their families. It’s extremely heartbreaking, the way that ICE tears communities apart and ruins people’s lives. It’s very personal to me, so I really want to depict these moments and help others understand the reality of the situation.
My Hope for the Future: As someone who believes in prison abolition, it is my hope for the future that ICE will be defunded, and those funds will be reinvested in the community and social service programs.I hope one day, people will no longer need to live in fear of bullies like ICE.
See My Art: https://dalimash.wixsite.com/website
Interested in collaborating? Contact me at: daliareyhs@gmail.com

Carolina Jones

Name: Carolina Jones (she/hers)
A Little About Me: I’m a student at the University of Michigan majoring in Art & Design with a minor in Education and Community Action & Social Change.
My Connection to this Work: I was raised on both sides of the US-Mexico border, which has made me acutely aware of the way in which immigration shapes a community. For this reason, I am interested in creating illustrations that explore an honest picture of border politics and the immigrant experience.
My Hope for the Future: My hope is that there is never a need again for images like this to be made, images that depict the generational trauma that is passed down to children because of family separation. However, in the meantime, I will keep sharing these stories, hoping to spread empathy and understanding of immigrant issues.
See My Art: https://carolinajones-portfolio.squarespace.com/

About the Project

We are community health researchers who research, write about, and advocate against immigration enforcement, especially immigration raids. During the Trump administration, immigration raids increased drastically (cite), including a return to large-scale immigration worksite raids rarely used during the Obama administration. Because of our previous work on immigration raids, we were frequently contacted by the media to discuss how raids impact communities.

Fielding numerous calls from reporters and carefully monitoring the public discussion about raids ourselves lead to two conclusions:

First, the public understanding of immigration raids was extremely limited. While some reporters –most often Spanish-speakers with contacts in local communities–considered longer term impacts in the years following raids, the general public discussion in the English speaking, non-immigrant discourse summarized the impacts of raids as the number of people removed on the day the raid occurred. This is an important metric, yes. But it is certainly not the whole story.

Second, this story is not ours to tell, or at least not tell alone. Rather, it is the families and communities targeted by immigraiton enforcement and hit with immigration raids who can best describe their impacts.

This project is our attempt to center impacted communities as the story-tellers of immigration raids. With the collaboration of a wide range of community organizers, we visited the sites of the six large-scale immigration work raids that occurred in 2018: Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Bean Station, Tennessee, Sumner, Texas, Sandusky and Salem Ohio, and O’Neill, Nebraska. In these towns and the surrounding areas, we spoke to detainees and their families, as well as advocates, lawyers, teachers and faith leaders to better understand impacts and responses of immigration worksite raids. Graduate and undergraduate at the Universities of Michigan and Iowa transcribed and coded these interviews.

Then, two artists engaged our study teams in focus groups about these raids and delved into media that covered them. Many members of our study team, from the artists to the students to the PIs, come from immigrant families, and some have even written publicly about the deportation of their parents. This rich perspective and engaged discussion resulted in the art you see here.

The take-away message: Stories of immigration enforcement are complicated, intricate, and traumatic. It takes a collaborative team of storytellers deeply engaged in the work to tell their stories. Researchers, the media, advocates, and communities all have a role in developing and centering these stories.

About the Butterfly and Water Tower

Butterflies represent unencumbered movement, freedom, and peace. Butterflies–especially monarch butterflies–are known for their migration and symbolize the freedom to traverse the land with dignity. Many immigrant rights movements have used the image of the butterfly to remind the public that migration is a natural part of our world. We chose a butterfly to represent our work here to connect us to the work of those who have come before us and to foreground the beauty of the communities and people engaged in immigration advocacy. See Favianna Rodriguez’s well-known butterfly art here.

This work involved long drives throughout the rural U.S., where immigration worksite raids are most likely to occur. In these rural areas, water towers were a constant presence, standing tall against an endless blue sky, open fields, and rolling hills. The exterior of the water tower is solid and strong, rooted tightly to the ground in order to weather the storms common in the midwest. All these towers contain water, the element necessary for life. We chose a water tower to represent the strength and durability of the rural immigrant communities whose labor also provides life to the cities and towns in which they live.

About the Team

Community partners

This project is conducted in consultation with representatives from each of the 6 rural communities:
Julio Salazar, Bean Station, TN
Tammy Shull, Iowa Welcomes its Immigrant Neighbors (Iowa WINS), Mt. Pleasant, IA
Veronica Dahlberg, HOLA Ohio, Sandusky, OH and Salem, OH
Kesley Fischer, HOLA Ohio, Sandusky, OH and Salem, OH
Gladys Godinez, O’Neill, NE
Dalila Reynoso-Gonzalez, Texas Jail Project, Sumner, TX

Academic teams

The work of graduate and undergraduate students–many of whom come from immigrant families and live or work in rural communities–made this project possible.

Adelante Lab, University of Michigan School of Public Health
Principal Investigator: William D. Lopez
Nour-Hoda Eidy
Ronnie Alvarez Cabrales
Aissa Cabrales
Guadalupe Reina Cervantes
Katherine M. Collins
Madeline B. Simone

Artists (meet the artists):
Dalia Harris
Carolina Jones

Immigration Enforcement and Health Equity Lab, University of Iowa College of Public Health
Principal Investigator: Nicole L. Novak
Naomi Marroquín
Juan Gudino
Bella Reyes

Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio, University of Iowa Libraries
Ethan Degross, Researcher/Developer
Alyssa Varner, Graphic Designer
Mark Anderson, Digital Scholarship & Collections Librarian

This project was funded by grants from:

The University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG)

Documenting Criminalization and Confinement Research Initiative of the University of Michigan Carceral State Project

and pilot funding from the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement Number, DP005021-01.