From October 6, 2018, Dr. Felicia Arriaga attended an international conference in Athens, Greece to present her research on the impact of NGOs on deterring efforts of local state agencies in detention and deportation processes. Below is an abstract of Arriaga's presentation:
This paper describes how state agents and those in civil society—local NGOs in one state in the United States—implement policies meant to deter the entrance into detention and deportation, which is itself an increasingly localized process. Kalir & Wissink (2016) note, the ‘cozy consensus’ among NGOs and state agencies in the Netherlands, and in my study, I find a similar phenomenon occurs within negotiations of immigrant belonging and community safety in the United States. Not only are there convergences in those areas outlined by Kalir & Wissink (2016) but a dependency on state agents—local law enforcement—also emerges in times of anti-immigrant legislative pushes, which creates a “sealed-off political realm.” Furthermore, this “sealed-off political realm” contributes to a racial triangulation process, which places limitations on NGOs and activist citizens alike who may have similar imaginaries of citizenship but who ultimately still function within the immigrant rights silo. Yet, I also find activist citizens willing to step outside this political realm and who are mobilizing both against immigrant detention and mass incarceration, are better able to counter this illegalization of others. Focusing ethnographically on local sheriff elections in one state in the United States, my study highlights the consensus among NGOs and state agencies while allowing room for activist citizens who have constructed their own space for a different narrative.