William D. Lopez details the incredible strain that immigration raids place on Latino communities—and the families and friends who must recover from their aftermath.

2020 International Latino Book Awards Winner 
First Place, Mariposa Award for Best First Book – Nonfiction 
Honorable Mention, Best Political / Current Affairs Book

The Aftermath Of An Immigration Raid In Separated

NPR’s Scott Simon speaks with William Lopez about his new book, Separated, which documents the effects of a 2013 immigration raid on a community.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

About the Book

On a Thursday in November 2013, Guadalupe Morales waited anxiously with her sister-in-law and their four small children. Every Latino man who drove away from their shared apartment above a small auto repair shop that day had failed to return—arrested, one by one, by ICE agents and local police. As the two women discussed what to do next, a SWAT team clad in body armor and carrying assault rifles stormed the room. As Guadalupe remembers it, “The soldiers came in the house. They knocked down doors. They threw gas. They had guns. We were two women with small children…. The kids terrified, the kids screaming.”

In Separated, William D. Lopez examines the lasting damage done by this daylong act of collaborative immigration enforcement in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Exploring the chaos of enforcement through the lens of community health, Lopez discusses deportation’s rippling negative effects on families, communities, and individuals. Focusing on those left behind, Lopez reveals their efforts to cope with trauma, avoid homelessness, handle worsening health, and keep their families together as they attempt to deal with a deportation machine that is militarized, traumatic, implicitly racist, and profoundly violent. 

Lopez uses this single home raid to show what immigration law enforcement looks like from the perspective of the people who actually experience it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-four individuals whose lives were changed that day in 2013, as well as field notes, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and his own experience as an activist, Lopez combines rigorous research with moving storytelling. Putting faces and names to the numbers behind deportation statistics, Separated urges readers to move beyond sound bites and consider the human experience of mixed-status communities in the small towns that dot the interior of the United States.

“Lopez’s book is one of the most powerful examples to date of an academic using deep study and radical empathy to indict a profoundly evil system.”

Scott W. Stern, New Republic

William D. Lopez details the incredible strain that immigration raids place on Latino communities—and the families and friends who must recover from their aftermath.

[Lopez’s] style is revolutionary. He demonstrates that an alleged criminal can be a complex human with complex human connections . . . [His] book short circuits narratives at the root of racist policies—about good vs. bad immigrants, legal vs. illegal people—by honoring the complex web around the sinners. When brown sinners are outlawed, their loved ones become prey, too.”

Jean Guerrero, author of Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir and Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda.

Separated is the result of hours of interviews with those affected, offering gumshoe FOIA-heavy journalism and a deep, empathetic understanding of community.”


“No social issues collection, particularly those strong in community makeup and immigration challenges, should be without this hard-hitting survey.”

Donovan’s Literary Services

“Separated will leave readers incensed and heartbroken by the dehumanizing machinery of the current immigration system in the United States but also inspired by powerful stories of resilience and Lopez’s road map for action and solidarity.”

Wendy A. Vogt, author of Lives in Transit: Violence and Intimacy on the Migrant Journey

“Separated tells the story of a single daylong immigration raid and its rippling consequences. Lopez unpacks the events of the raid to reveal the intimate effects and broader contexts of aggressive immigrant policing. The result is at once informative, compelling, broadly significant, and absolutely gripping.”

Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, author of Becoming Legal: Immigration Law and Mixed-Status Families

“This is a beautifully told, heart-wrenching story of one community’s path after deportation. In immersing us in the particular, William Lopez illuminates the larger truth: that policy decisions that drive deportation have deep and long-felt consequences on the well-being of individuals and communities. Understanding this can guide us to what is long overdue: a compassionate immigration policy.”

Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, coeditor of Teaching Public Health

“This riveting account details the far-reaching effects of immigration raids on our social fabric. This book offers both a searing condemnation of racialized policing practices and an inspiring vision for change.”

Sarah B. Horton, author of They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields: Illness, Injury, and Illegality among U.S. Farmworkers

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