An American Life, Lived in Shadows

"Oklahoma’s restrictions did not reduce Oklahoma’s [unauthorized] immigrant population, census figures show. While some families fled, others came and tens of thousands more — like Ignacio and his family, who requested that only their first names be used — have stayed put, hiding and striving in the shadows.

Tulsa is an especially tough place to pull that off. Even by Oklahoma’s standards, it is known as a vigilant city, with a suburban lifestyle that requires driving to work and a sheriff’s office that has made immigration enforcement a high priority.

Legal immigrants and criminals here have also found ways to use the law to their advantage. Ignacio says he has lost more than $100,000 to frauds he never reported to the police, fearing deportation. And it was a former employer and new competitor — a Mexican woman with legal status — who forced him to shut down his salon by reporting to inspectors that he lacked a Social Security number.

“The legal ones without compassion are the worst,” said Maria, Ignacio’s wife." - NYT, June 9, 2014.