Explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic and historical context In this illuminating work, immigrant rights activist Aviva Chomsky shows how “illegality” and “undocumentedness” are concepts that were created to exclude and exploit. With a focus on US policy, she probes how people, especially Mexican and Central Americans, have been assigned this status—and to what ends. Blending history with human drama, Chomsky explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context. The result is a powerful testament of the complex, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of status in America. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"This book looks at the role illegality or undocumentedness plays in our society and economy. It shows how the status was created, and how and why people, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, have been assigned this status. The first three chapterslook at the histories of social exclusion. One looks specifically at the Mexican and Guatemalan contexts to understand why such large numbers of people from these countries enter the United States without documents, and how those who do so understand their own motivations. Two chapters focus on the role of illegality in the economy. Undocumented people tend to work in three different kinds of jobs: jobs that have been historically marginalized, like those in agriculture; jobs that have been downgraded from well-paid, unionized work to low-wage labor, like meatpacking; and newly booming job categories that underlie post-war consumerist prosperity like landscaping and childcare work. One chapter looks at children and families, focusing especially on the experiences of undocumented youth and youth with undocumented parents, and at the leadership role that undocumented youth have taken in the undocumented rights movement. One looks at the dizzying complexity of status to point out that virtually nobody really understand what "illegal" means. It looks at the detention system and the interests behind it. Finally, the last chapter explores the different "solutions" to the problem of undocumentedness that have been proposed and implemented over time, and shows why they have failed. Undocumentedness is deeply imbedded in global and national political and economic systems, and the concept itself must be understood and challenged in order to create a more just system. "--
Author: Jose Angel N.
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Release Date: 2014-02-15
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A day after N. first crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, he was caught and then released onto the streets of Tijuana. Undeterred, N. crawled back through a tunnel to San Diego, where he entered the United States forever. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is his timely and compelling memoir of building a new life in America. Authorial anonymity is required to protect this life. Arriving in the 1990s with a 9th grade education, N. traveled to Chicago where he found access to ESL classes and GED classes. He eventually attended college and graduate school and became a professional translator. Despite having a well-paying job, N. was isolated by a lack of official legal documentation. Travel concerns made big promotions out of reach. Vacation time was spent hiding at home, pretending that he was on a long-planned trip. The simple act of purchasing his girlfriend a beer at a Cubs baseball game caused embarrassment and shame when N. couldn't produce a valid ID. A frustrating contradiction, N. lived in a luxury high-rise condo but couldn't fully live the American dream. He did, however, find solace in the one gift America gave him–-his education. Ultimately, N.’s is the story of the triumph of education over adversity. In Illegal he debunks the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are freeloaders without access to education or opportunity for advancement. With bravery and honesty, N. details the constraints, deceptions, and humiliations that characterize alien life "amid the shadows."
Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose. In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think—and have been thinking—about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that non-citizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Julissa Arce
Publisher: Center Street
Release Date: 2016-09-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States? JULISSA ARCE knows firsthand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple-and often just plain wrong. On the surface, Arce's story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends. From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce-the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs-had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today- people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream-from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.
Author: Roger Daniels
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Release Date: 2005-01-12
Genre: Social Science
As renowned historian Roger Daniels shows in this brilliant new work, America's inconsistent, often illogical, and always cumbersome immigration policy has profoundly affected our recent past. The federal government's efforts to pick and choose among the multitude of immigrants seeking to enter the United States began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Conceived in ignorance and falsely presented to the public, it had undreamt of consequences, and this pattern has been rarely deviated from since. Immigration policy in Daniels' skilled hands shows Americans at their best and worst, from the nativist violence that forced Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 "gentlemen's agreement" with Japan to the generous refugee policies adopted after World War Two and throughout the Cold War. And in a conclusion drawn from today's headlines, Daniels makes clear how far ignorance, partisan politics, and unintended consequences have overtaken immigration policy during the current administration's War on Terror. Irreverent, deeply informed, and authoritative, Guarding the Golden Door presents an unforgettable interpretation of modern American history.
Author: Roberto G. Gonzales
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2015-12-15
Genre: Social Science
“My world seems upside down. I have grown up but I feel like I’m moving backward. And I can’t do anything about it.” –Esperanza Over two million of the nation’s eleven million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since childhood. Due to a broken immigration system, they grow up to uncertain futures. In Lives in Limbo, Roberto G. Gonzales introduces us to two groups: the college-goers, like Ricardo, who had good grades and a strong network of community support that propelled him to college and DREAM Act organizing but still landed in a factory job a few short years after graduation, and the early-exiters, like Gabriel, who failed to make meaningful connections in high school and started navigating dead-end jobs, immigration checkpoints, and a world narrowly circumscribed by legal limitations. This vivid ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, despite the fact that higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America. Mining the results of an extraordinary twelve-year study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles, Lives in Limbo exposes the failures of a system that integrates children into K-12 schools but ultimately denies them the rewards of their labor.
Author: Mae M. Ngai
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2014-04-27
This book traces the origins of the "illegal alien" in American law and society, explaining why and how illegal migration became the central problem in U.S. immigration policy—a process that profoundly shaped ideas and practices about citizenship, race, and state authority in the twentieth century. Mae Ngai offers a close reading of the legal regime of restriction that commenced in the 1920s—its statutory architecture, judicial genealogies, administrative enforcement, differential treatment of European and non-European migrants, and long-term effects. She shows that immigration restriction, particularly national-origin and numerical quotas, remapped America both by creating new categories of racial difference and by emphasizing as never before the nation's contiguous land borders and their patrol. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Author: Aviva Chomsky
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2010-11-23
A History of the Cuban Revolution presents a concise socio-historical account of the Cuban Revolution of 1959, an event that continues to spark debate 50 years later. Balances a comprehensive overview of the political and economic events of the revolution with a look at the revolution’s social impact Provides a lively, on-the-ground look at the lives of ordinary people Features both U.S. and Cuban perspectives to provide a complete and well-rounded look at the revolution and its repercussions Encourages students to understand history through the viewpoint of individuals living it Selected as a 2011 Outstanding Academic Title by CHOICE
Dreamers is a movement book for the generation brought to the United States as children—and now fighting to live here legally Of the approximately twelve million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, as many as two million came as children. They grow up here, going to elementary, middle, and high school, and then the country they call home won’t—in most states—offer financial aid for college and they’re unable to be legally employed. In 2001, US senator Dick Durbin introduced the DREAM Act to Congress, an initiative that would allow these young people to become legal residents if they met certain requirements. And now, more than ten years later, in the face of congressional inertia and furious opposition from some, the DREAM Act has yet to be passed. But recently, this young generation has begun organizing, and with their rallying cry “Undocumented, Unapologetic, and Unafraid” they are the newest face of the human rights movement. In Dreamers, Eileen Truax illuminates the stories of these men and women who are living proof of a complex and sometimes hidden political reality that calls into question what it truly means to be American. From the Trade Paperback edition.
An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons. Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city’s homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el’s only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el’s passion for books and learning. With Jeff’s help, Dan-el was accepted on scholarship to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country. There, Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class. From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian’s traditional address in Latin at his commencement. Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. Praise for Undocumented “Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s story is as compulsively readable as a novel, an all-American tall tale that just happens to be true. From homeless shelter to Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford, through the grace not only of his own hard work but his mother’s discipline and care, he documents the America we should still aspire to be.” —Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President of the New America Foundation
Author: Nicholas De Genova
Publisher: Duke University Press
Release Date: 2005-09-27
Genre: Social Science
While Chicago has the second-largest Mexican population among U.S. cities, relatively little ethnographic attention has focused on its Mexican community. This much-needed ethnography of Mexicans living and working in Chicago examines processes of racialization, labor subordination, and class formation; the politics of nativism; and the structures of citizenship and immigration law. Nicholas De Genova develops a theory of “Mexican Chicago” as a transnational social and geographic space that joins Chicago to innumerable communities throughout Mexico. “Mexican Chicago” is a powerful analytical tool, a challenge to the way that social scientists have thought about immigration and pluralism in the United States, and the basis for a wide-ranging critique of U.S. notions of race, national identity, and citizenship. De Genova worked for two and a half years as a teacher of English in ten industrial workplaces (primarily metal-fabricating factories) throughout Chicago and its suburbs. In Working the Boundaries he draws on fieldwork conducted in these factories, in community centers, and in the homes and neighborhoods of Mexican migrants. He describes how the meaning of “Mexican” is refigured and racialized in relation to a U.S. social order dominated by a black-white binary. Delving into immigration law, he contends that immigration policies have worked over time to produce Mexicans as the U.S. nation-state’s iconic “illegal aliens.” He explains how the constant threat of deportation is used to keep Mexican workers in line. Working the Boundaries is a major contribution to theories of race and transnationalism and a scathing indictment of U.S. labor and citizenship policies.
Author: Margaret Regan
Publisher: Beacon Press
Release Date: 2010-10-13
Genre: Social Science
Dispatches from Arizona—the front line of a massive human migration—including the voices of migrants, Border Patrol, ranchers, activists, and others For the last decade, Margaret Regan has reported on the escalating chaos along the Arizona-Mexico border, ground zero for immigration since 2000. Undocumented migrants cross into Arizona in overwhelming numbers, a state whose anti-immigrant laws are the most stringent in the nation. And Arizona has the highest number of migrant deaths. Fourteen-year-old Josseline, a young girl from El Salvador who was left to die alone on the migrant trail, was just one of thousands to perish in its deserts and mountains. With a sweeping perspective and vivid on-the-ground reportage, Regan tells the stories of the people caught up in this international tragedy. Traveling back and forth across the border, she visits migrants stranded in Mexican shelters and rides shotgun with Border Patrol agents in Arizona, hiking with them for hours in the scorching desert; she camps out in the thorny wilderness with No More Deaths activists and meets with angry ranchers and vigilantes. Using Arizona as a microcosm, Regan explores a host of urgent issues: the border militarization that threatens the rights of U.S. citizens, the environmental damage wrought by the border wall, the desperation that compels migrants to come north, and the human tragedy of the unidentified dead in Arizona’s morgues. From the Trade Paperback edition.