ICE in the Heartland

The ICE in the Heartland project uses a community-engaged approach to conduct in-depth qualitative research in six rural communities affected by large worksite immigration raids in 2018. This work is supplemented through the development of a media archive that considers the ways that Spanish and English media portrayed immigration raids in the months after the raids occurred.

We partner with local organizations or community leaders in small towns in Tennessee, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio and northern Texas to invite local residents to share their experience of the immigration raid and how they responded. Together, we document the gendered and racialized impacts of worksite immigration raids on arrested immigrants, their families, and others in the community. We also analyze the ways community actors responded to mitigate harms to immigrants, their families, and others.

A partnership between researchers and students at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and University of Iowa College of Public Health, we strive to foster a wide range of collaboration in our work and maintain relationships with individuals and communities at all six raid sites. We disseminate findings through research, art action, media, and further education.

ICE in the Heartland: Community Impacts of Worksite Immigration Raids

Click here to visit the external website for ICE in the Heartland, published summer 2021.

Commentary and Research Reflections from the ICE in the Heartland team

Project Team

William Lopez

Assistant Prof. School of Public Health, Director ICE in the Heartland Team. Bill Lopez is a clinical assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health and faculty director of public scholarship at the National Center for Institutional Diversity. The child of a Mexican immigrant mother, he is also the author of Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid (Johns Hopkins, 2019). His community-based research uses mixed methods to investigate the impacts of immigration raids while centering the voices of community members who survive and thrive under targeted government surveillance and removal efforts.

Nicole Novak

Assistant Research Scientist, University of Iowa College of Public Health. Nicole Novak uses epidemiologic and community-engaged research methods to examine historical, structural and policy influences on the health of immigrants, Latinos and rural residents. She has partnered with multiple community-based organizations addressing issues related to health equity in Iowa, including the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, the Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition, and the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project.  

Guadalupe Cervantes

M.A. Student (Public Health). Guadalupe Cervantes is a first year Master’s student studying Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Growing up in an immigrant family, she witnessed many health disparities in her hometown, Coachella Valley, located in Southern California. While in graduate school, she seeks to make a difference for these communities by documenting the implications of six large-scale immigration work raids that occurred in 2018. She hopes to bring these issues to light through the creation of a digital archive that will serve as an educational platform for those impacted, advocates, and the general public.

Nourel-Hoda Eidy

Undergraduate Student (Public Health). Nourel-hoda Eidy is a fourth-year student majoring in Community and Global Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, to an Arab and Muslim family, she moved to the U.S. at the age of 5. Her focus has been compiling community response efforts in the aftermath of immigration raids that occurred in 2018 at six sites across the interior states of the nation, focusing on accounts from families and community advocates involved. After receiving her B.A., she will be pursuing a graduate degree in Public Health, aiming to combine scholarly work with social activism.

Ronnie Alvarez

Undergraduate Student (Public Health). Ronnie Alvarez is a rising senior majoring in Public Health Sciences with a minor in Chemistry. He is a research assistant working on the ICE in the Heartland project, which researches the health effects of immigration enforcement, and state-sanctioned violence more generally. Born in Southwest Detroit to immigrant parents, this experience and proximity to immigrant communities motivates him to actively work for immigration reform.

Aissa Cabrales

Undergraduate Student (Psychology/Spanish). Aissa Cabrales is a third-year undergraduate student at U-M, studying Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Anthropology. Growing up in a mixed-status family and community in Illinois, she saw the lack of bilingual resources necessary to address the mental health concerns of the Latinx population. Her research with the ICE in the Heartland team has focused on the six major worksite raids within the Midwest and documenting how community advocates responded to these raids. In addition to that, she created the Spanish archive on the different types of media about the raids that occurred throughout the Midwest.

Carolina Jones

Carolina Jones is an illustrator & comic artist from the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Currently studying Art & Design at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, she wishes to paint accurate representations of marginalized and stigmatized communities. In collaboration with the Carceral State Project, she has illustrated research-based images on immigration & the criminal system and on the discriminatory use of criminal records. You can find her work at: