Chiara Galli - "Precarious Protections" - Angela Garcia

Monday, April 3, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Chiara Galli

Chiara Galli will discuss Precarious Protections.  She will be joined in conversation by Angela Garcia.

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op. At this time, masks are required for in-store events.


About the book: More children than ever before are crossing international borders alone to seek asylum worldwide. In the past decade, over a half million children have fled from Central America to the United States, seeking safety and a chance to continue lives halted by violence. Yet upon their arrival, they fail to find the protection that our laws promise, based on the universally shared belief that children should be safeguarded. Precarious Protections chronicles the experiences and perspectives of Central American unaccompanied minors and their immigration attorneys as they pursue applications for refugee status in the US asylum process. Chiara Galli debunks assumptions about asylum, including the idea that people are being denied protection because they file bogus claims. Instead, the United States interprets asylum law far more narrowly than what is necessary to recognize real-world experiences of escape from life-threatening violence, particularly those experiences unique to children in Central America. Galli reveals the formidable challenges of lawyering with children and exposes the human toll of the US immigration bureaucracy.

Precarious Protection is based on over six years of research conducted between 2015 and 2020 and spanning the starkly different political and legal contexts of the Obama and Trump administrations. Galli carried out ethnographic fieldwork in various legal clinics in Los Angeles, shadowing immigration attorneys and other nonprofit staff as they prepared their young clients’ asylum applications and helping out as a volunteer legal assistant and Spanish-English interpreter. In addition to her observations in the cases of nearly 80 youths applying for asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief, Galli also conducted over 120 semi-structured interviews with unaccompanied minors, their attorneys, and other key actors.

About the author: Chiara Galli is a Sociologist and Assistant Professor of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Precarious Protections: Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum in the US (University of California Press 2023).

About the interlocutor: Angela Garcia is a Sociologist and Associate Professor at the Crown Family School at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law (University of California Press 2019).

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60615