Despite the common assumption that immigration laws target only undocumented immigrants, “illegality” intimately and deeply impacts a larger proportion of immigrants and Latinos. Based on in-depth interviews and participant observation with documented and undocumented Latino immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico in Los Angeles over a 10-year period (2001–2010), this article examines how illegality encompasses all members of a family, even when only one person or a few people are categorized as undocumented or only temporarily protected. Illegality can create tension for people whose disadvantages are heightened by structural limitations related to immigration laws. From children's sense of abandonment by parents, to siblings' heightened rivalries, and resentments between spouses, illegality shapes families' interactions and well-being. On the other hand, with extensive social networks and in a social context that provides some a sense of safety, families can try to reframe illegality to experience it as a source of solidarity and strength, even when it increases barriers and burdens.

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