Communities in Danger: Mayra Stefania Arteaga on the Criminalization of Immigration
Mayra Stefania Arteaga works to protect residents of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina from deportation. Mayra Stefania's advocacy work was shaped by 287g—a small clause in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act that permits sheriffs to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) whenever they detain a person. In many places, 287g means that a random traffic stop, a broken taillight, jaywalking, or simply looking “Latino” can trigger a deportation pipeline—regardless of whether a person has broken the law. In 2018 Mayra Stefania successfully organized to defeat 287g in her county.
Connect past and present through the Learning Lab to discover how issues impacting undocumented communities have deep roots in the nation’s history. In Communities in Danger, we explore the Smithsonian’s collections to understand the history of how groups have been criminalized in the United States. From the Trail of Tears to Japanese internment to the federal incarceration system, we see different ways that people have been cut off from American society. These resources provide the opportunity to consider obstacles to democracy.