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Attitudes Toward Police and Judges of Latina Immigrants With a Justice-Involved Child: Do Documentation Status and Family Deportations Matter?

NCJ Number
Crime and Delinquency Dated: April 2024
Caitlin Cavanagh; Alyssa LaBerge; Erica Dalzell; Elizabeth Cauffman
Date Published
April 2024
32 pages

The authors report on their examination of family member perceptions of legal actors, such as police officers and judges, among female immigrants who are undocumented, who have had contacts with the criminal justice system through family-member deportations and arrests.


Immigrants who are undocumented or who have experienced the deportation of family members may perceive legal actors such as police and judges differently than immigrants who are legal residents. Among a sample of 117 Latina immigrant women in California whose sons were arrested, the authors found that women who were undocumented had more negative specific attitudes toward police (i.e., stemming from their experience during their son’s arrest), and women with a history of family deportations had more negative general attitudes toward police (i.e., considering the police as an abstract group). Attitudes toward judges were neither associated with documentation status nor family deportations, suggesting that the association is unique to police during an era when police are increasingly involved in immigration enforcement. (Published Abstract Provided)