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.
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."
Author: Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Release Date: 2011-03-11
Genre: Social Science
An in-depth look at the challenges undocumented immigrants face as they raise children in the U.S. There are now nearly four million children born in the United States who have undocumented immigrant parents. In the current debates around immigration reform, policymakers often view immigrants as an economic or labor market problem to be solved, but the issue has a very real human dimension. Immigrant parents without legal status are raising their citizen children under stressful work and financial conditions, with the constant threat of discovery and deportation that may narrow social contacts and limit participation in public programs that might benefit their children. Immigrants Raising Citizens offers a compelling description of the everyday experiences of these parents, their very young children, and the consequences these experiences have on their children’s development. Immigrants Raising Citizens challenges conventional wisdom about undocumented immigrants, viewing them not as lawbreakers or victims, but as the parents of citizens whose adult productivity will be essential to the nation’s future. The book’s findings are based on data from a three-year study of 380 infants from Dominican, Mexican, Chinese, and African American families, which included in-depth interviews, in-home child assessments, and parent surveys. The book shows that undocumented parents share three sets of experiences that distinguish them from legal-status parents and may adversely influence their children’s development: avoidance of programs and authorities, isolated social networks, and poor work conditions. Fearing deportation, undocumented parents often avoid accessing valuable resources that could help their children’s development—such as access to public programs and agencies providing child care and food subsidies. At the same time, many of these parents are forced to interact with illegal entities such as smugglers or loan sharks out of financial necessity. Undocumented immigrants also tend to have fewer reliable social ties to assist with child care or share information on child-rearing. Compared to legal-status parents, undocumented parents experience significantly more exploitive work conditions, including long hours, inadequate pay and raises, few job benefits, and limited autonomy in job duties. These conditions can result in ongoing parental stress, economic hardship, and avoidance of center-based child care—which is directly correlated with early skill development in children. The result is poorly developed cognitive skills, recognizable in children as young as two years old, which can negatively impact their future school performance and, eventually, their job prospects. Immigrants Raising Citizens has important implications for immigration policy, labor law enforcement, and the structure of community services for immigrant families. In addition to low income and educational levels, undocumented parents experience hardships due to their status that have potentially lifelong consequences for their children. With nothing less than the future contributions of these children at stake, the book presents a rigorous and sobering argument that the price for ignoring this reality may be too high to pay.
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: Darrell Ankarlo
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: 2010-09-13
Genre: Social Science
AMERICA’S MELTING POT IS BOILING OVER. Millions of illegals strain an overburdened system. Crime rates skyrocket. From the Valley of the Sun to the halls of Congress, debate rages. All the while, murder and mayhem reign along the U.S.-Mexico border. Speaking into the fray at a timely juncture, radio talk-show host Darrell Ankarlo delivers a gripping, beyond-the-headlines look at illegal immigration: its victims, its perpetrators, and its toll on the heart of a nation and the will of her law-abiding citizens. From the hot-button state of Arizona, Ankarlo dared venture to the epicenter of the battle for America’s southern border. Now he dares you to absorb the heartbreaking stories and eye-opening discoveries he brought back from his undercover journey without finding yourself shaken, inspired... and compelled to act. Endorsements: “Instead of complaining about the “border problem,” Darrel Ankarlo set out to do something about it—he went there and lived it! In Illegals, Darrell provides a real and raw ‘boots on the ground’ look at our increasingly lawless southern border. This edition . . . will make you shake your head and say ‘no way’ as you’re presented with true stories and experiences about life along the border. This book will enlighten you and at times frighten you, but in the end you’ll know better than most politicians what’s really happening at the border.” —GLENN BECK
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: Ana Raquel Minian
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2018-04-09
In the 1970s the Mexican government acted to alleviate rural unemployment by supporting the migration of able-bodied men. Millions crossed into the United States to find work that would help them survive as well as sustain their families in Mexico. They took low-level positions that few Americans wanted and sent money back to communities that depended on their support. But as U.S. authorities pursued more aggressive anti-immigrant measures, migrants found themselves caught between the economic interests of competing governments. The fruits of their labor were needed in both places, and yet neither country made them feel welcome. Ana Raquel Minian explores this unique chapter in the history of Mexican migration. Undocumented Lives draws on private letters, songs, and oral testimony to recreate the experience of circular migration, which reshaped communities in the United States and Mexico. While migrants could earn for themselves and their families in the U.S., they needed to return to Mexico to reconnect with their homes periodically. Despite crossing the border many times, they managed to belong to communities on both sides of it. Ironically, the U.S. immigration crackdown of the mid-1980s disrupted these flows, forcing many migrants to remain north of the border permanently for fear of not being able to return to work. For them, the United States became known as the jaula de oro—the cage of gold. Undocumented Lives tells the story of Mexicans who have been used and abused by the broader economic and political policies of Mexico and the United States.
Author: Peter Eichstaedt
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Release Date: 2014-05-01
Genre: Social Science
“In this provocative and engaging book, Peter Eichstaedt has given us an insightful and fascinating on-the-ground account of how the US-Mexico divide has turned into an increasingly militarized frontier of fear.” —Peter Andreas, author of Smuggle Nation and Border Games Despite tens of thousands of border agents and the expenditure of billions of dollars, an estimated one million Mexicans and Central Americans continue to cross the border each year. These migrants fill jobs that have become the underpinnings of the US economy. Rather than building more and better barricades, argues veteran journalist Peter Eichstaedt, the United States must reform its immigration and drug laws and acknowledge that costly, counterproductive, and antiquated policies have created deadly circumstances on both sides of the border. Recognizing the truth of America’s long and tortured relations with Mexico must be followed by legitimizing the contributions made by migrants to the American way of life. Peter Eichstaedt is a journalist who has reported from locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Albania, Somalia, the Sudans, Uganda, Kenya, eastern DR Congo, eastern Europe, and the Caucasus. He attended the University of the Americas in Mexico City and lived and worked as a journalist in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for more than 20 years. He worked most recently as the Afghanistan country director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Kabul. He is the author of Above the Din of War, Consuming the Congo, Pirate State, First Kill Your Family, and If You Poison Us. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
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.
Once a safe and humble community, Barrio Antioquia--a town in Medellín, Colombia--was now plagued by unemployment and overrun by gangs, drug mules, and hired assassins. Realizing Medellín held no future for their family, Harold Fernandez's parents travelled illegally to New York to work in sweatshops, leaving their sons behind temporarily. Years later, Harold and his brother risked their lives for the opportunity to join their parents in America. Harold's epic journey brought him from the turbulent violence and drug wars of Medellín to the charm and beauty of the mythic classrooms, libraries, and laboratories of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. On his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of helping others, Harold endured the struggles of living in the margins as an undocumented immigrant. This is a story of inexhaustible love, unfailing determination, and human compassion. It shows that in America all dreams are possible.--Publisher's description.
Author: Marie Friedmann Marquardt
Publisher: New Press, The
Release Date: 2013-04-02
Genre: Social Science
In June 2012, President Obama’s executive order enforcing parts of the Dream Act and the Supreme Court’s decision to block components of Arizona’s draconian immigration law propelled the immigration debate back into the headlines once again. Based on oral histories, individual testimonies, and years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured “stories that often get lost in the rhetoric” (Gainesville Sun)—of real people working, building families, and enriching their communities even as the political climate has grown increasingly hostile. Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal” challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. This revealing narrative takes us into Southern churches, onto the streets of major American cities, into the fields of Florida, and back and forth across different national boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala. A new preface by the authors frames these stories in light of recent policy developments, as well as the 2012 elections and possible shifts ahead. An unmistakably relevant, deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will continue to stand as an authoritative guide as we address one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Author: Walter J. Nicholls
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Release Date: 2013-09-04
Genre: Social Science
On May 17, 2010, four undocumented students occupied the Arizona office of Senator John McCain. Across the country a flurry of occupations, hunger strikes, demonstrations, and marches followed, calling for support of the DREAM Act that would allow these young people the legal right to stay in the United States. The highly public, confrontational nature of these actions marked a sharp departure from more subdued, anonymous forms of activism of years past. The DREAMers provides the first investigation of the youth movement that has transformed the national immigration debate, from its start in the early 2000s through the present day. Walter Nicholls draws on interviews, news stories, and firsthand encounters with activists to highlight the strategies and claims that have created this now-powerful voice in American politics. Facing high levels of anti-immigrant sentiment across the country, undocumented youths sought to increase support for their cause and change the terms of debate by arguing for their unique position—as culturally integrated, long term residents and most importantly as "American" youth sharing in core American values. Since 2010 undocumented activists have increasingly claimed their own space in the public sphere, asserting a right to recognition—a right to have rights. Ultimately, through the story of the undocumented youth movement, The DREAMers shows how a stigmatized group—whether immigrants or others—can gain a powerful voice in American political debate.