Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Paper Trails: Migrants, Documents, and Legal Insecurity



Publisher Name

Duke University Press


This essay traces the circulation and changing meanings of documents in community education and empowerment campaigns in the wake of Trump’s 2016 election. In particular, I examine how advocates use community education to create and exploit legal gray areas as they advance competing interpretations and uses of documents in sociolegal arenas. I also explore how local campaigns for “sanctuary” seek to sever paper trails of documents that can expose immigrant community members to federal immigration agencies. Finally, as documents form new paper trails through deportation, I attend to their changing meanings as they travel in new directions, traverse jurisdictional boundaries, and become repurposed for different uses.


ISBN: 978-1-4780-0845-3


Author Posting © Duke University Press, 2020. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Duke University Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Paper Trails: Migrants, Documents, and Legal Insecurity edited by Sarah B. Horton and Josiah Heyman, pp. 185-207.

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