Lowell Immigrant Communities in the Climate of Deportations


  • This paper was made possible with the support of a grant by the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jana Sládková, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854 [e-mail: Jana_Sladkova@uml.edu].


In the climate of increased anti-immigrant sentiment, deportations of immigrants from the United States are on the upsurge. This article begins with a review of current immigration laws enabling detentions and deportations of undocumented immigrants, as well as permanent legal residents with a prior criminal conviction. It then explores how immigrants and refugees interact with this national climate in Lowell, Massachusetts, a traditional immigrant city in the Northeast of the United States. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions have clearly had an impact on Lowell. Our findings indicate that fear and mistrust of local authorities is driving behavior of immigrants, who are reluctant to seek medical services or to report violence to the police, whom they suspect of collaborating with ICE.