In 2002 Anna Sampaio ’92 got a letter from the ACLU informing her they had come across Colorado police files classifying her a “criminal extremist.” Her offense? Working with a coalition in Chiapas, Mexico, run by a 72-year-old Franciscan nun: putting on workshops, hosting panels, arranging speakers. For this, Sampaio was said to be intent on overthrowing the government. “Franciscan nuns can be pretty badass,” Sampaio says. “But they’re not anarchist revolutionaries.” Sampaio, an associate professor and chair for the department of ethnic studies, survived professionally.
But the discovery made her wonder: What would happen to a Latina without her credentials? So she wrote Terrorizing Latina/o Immigrants: Race, Gender, and Immigration Politics in the Age of Security (Temple University Press), which chronicles 30 years of U.S. immigration policy. One finding: People of color are consistently viewed as criminals without cause.