In his July 3 USA Today op-ed "I asked Latinos why they joined immigration law enforcement. Now I'm urging them to leave," University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor David Cortez writes about his research that concluded that about 53% of Latino ICE/border agents are liberal immigration policy advocates and that they do these jobs "solely in service of economic self-interest." Drawing on extensive fieldwork, including interviews with and observations of more than 100 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents across Texas, Arizona, and California, his research engages questions of belonging, obligation, and liminality to reveal the careful negotiation of cross-cutting social group memberships of Latinx immigration agents caught between two worlds: the police and the policed. He will soon publish a book based on his PhD research: Broken Mirrors: Identity, Duty, and Belonging in the Age of the New La(tinx) Migra.

Cortez was also a guest this past weekend on NPR's Weekend Edition discussing Latino ICE & border agents and said, "Today Latinos make up nearly 30% of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 50% of Border Patrol, so they find themselves - you know, it raises this interesting kind of dilemma about Latinos actually policing an act that without which they would not be in the position they are today.

As this week's House Oversight & Reform Committee hearings on the conditions at the border are held, Cortez is available for interviews. You can contact me or reach him directly via email at


Colleen Sharkey

Assistant Director, Media Relations

University of Notre Dame

(office) 574-631-9958

(cell) 574-999-0102 I 

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