2015 Human Rights Defender Award
Nolan Kline is a PhD candidate in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida (USF), where he is also pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health. Prior to beginning his doctoral program, Nolan completed an MA in Applied Anthropology from USF, and a BA in Anthropology from Rollins College.
Nolan’s research has broadly centered on health rights for immigrant and farmworker populations and focused on ways in which academic pursuits can align with activist organizations’ efforts to address pressing needs. As an undergraduate student, Nolan developed a collaborative relationship with a Central Florida farmworker organization to advance efforts to address health needs among a group of African American former-farmworkers. During his Master’s degree program, Nolan explored access to dental care for Latino migrant farmworkers in the Tampa Bay area, and through this project, provided data to a non-profit organization that offered health services to farmworkers that assisted the organization’s funding efforts.
Most recently, Nolan has explored the intersection of health rights for immigrants and immigration policy in the United States. Nolan’s dissertation research explores how federal immigration laws converge with state immigration policies and local police practices in Atlanta, GA, to impact undocumented Latino immigrant communities and their ability to seek health services. In Georgia, state immigration laws grant police authority to stop and arrest any person suspected of being undocumented. Arrests can also occur through routine law enforcement practices, such as enforcing traffic codes, but due to federal policies such as Secure Communities and Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, any arrest can initiate the deportation processes. As a result of these immigration policies, driving or being visible in public spaces puts undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation, ultimately constricting immigrants’ mobility.
Findings from Nolan’s fieldwork suggest that immigrant policing infringes upon fundamental rights related to movement and mobility, impacting several aspects of life, including where immigrants feel safe in seeking health services. Exploring how immigrant rights organizations responded to broad forms of immigrant policing and the promotion of fear through local law enforcement tactics, Nolan drew from principles of engaged and activist anthropology to join immigrant rights organizations in Atlanta and participated in in “know your rights” campaigns and aided activist groups in organizing political demonstrations. Experiences from his fieldwork suggest needed policy intervention and future activist action to continue immigrant rights efforts.