Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora

Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora

by Daniel Kanstroom
     
 

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Since 1996, when new, harsher deportation laws went into effect, the United States has deported millions of noncitizens back to their countries of origin. While the rights of immigrants-with or without legal status--as well as the appropriate pathway to legal status are the subject of much debate, hardly any attention has been paid to what actually happens to

Overview


Since 1996, when new, harsher deportation laws went into effect, the United States has deported millions of noncitizens back to their countries of origin. While the rights of immigrants-with or without legal status--as well as the appropriate pathway to legal status are the subject of much debate, hardly any attention has been paid to what actually happens to deportees once they "pass beyond our aid." In fact, we have fostered a new diaspora of deportees, many of whom are alone and isolated, with strong ties to their former communities in the United States.

Daniel Kanstroom, author of the authoritative history of deportation, Deportation Nation, turns his attention here to the current deportation system of the United States and especially deportation's aftermath: the actual effects on individuals, families, U.S. communities, and the countries that must process and repatriate ever-increasing numbers of U.S. deportees. Few know that once deportees have been expelled to places like Guatemala, Cambodia, Haiti, and El Salvador, many face severe hardship, persecution and, in extreme instances, even death.

Addressing a wide range of political, social, and legal issues, Kanstroom considers whether our deportation system "works" in any meaningful sense. He also asks a number of under-examined legal and philosophical questions: What is the relationship between the "rule of law" and the border? Where do rights begin and end? Do (or should) deportees ever have a "right to return"? After demonstrating that deportation in the U.S. remains an anachronistic, ad hoc, legally questionable affair, the book concludes with specific reform proposals for a more humane and rational deportation system.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Kanstroom (law, Boston Coll.; Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History) analyzes the effects of the tough deportation laws passed in the United States in 1996. He describes the goals, methods, and effectiveness of the current system and concludes that it falls short of the standard of fairness and human rights that the United States aims to uphold. While acknowledging the need for border control, the author presents a provocative critique of current law and practice, including stories of family break-ups, negative effects on the countries that receive deportees, and the difficulties deportees experience in trying to assimilate into societies they left as young children. These deportees form a "New Diaspora," writes Kanstroom, and retain social, moral, and legal relationships to the United States. He also examines common myths about the criminality of immigrants and, finally, proposes reforms in deportation law that reflect the principles of discretion, family unity, human rights, and a "spirit of fair play." The book includes supporting statistics and meticulous notes. VERDICT Case studies, research, and reviews of legal precedents are presented in a readable yet rigorous format. Recommended for students of law and social sciences and for readers wherever immigration issues are a major concern.—Antoinette Brinkman, Evansville, IN
From the Publisher
"In Aftermath, Dan Kanstroom accomplishes the impossible: he disassembles the labyrinthine snarl of our immigration system in a volume that is both readable and scholarly, accessible and authoritative. Arguing compellingly against "government behavior and consequences we cannot and should not accept," he outlines a sensible, sane way forward. This book is ultimately a volume of hope that appeals to the American spirit of fair play and resoundingly demonstrates that fairness can be, and is, pragmatic and enlightened self-interest. A must-read."—Ashley Judd, actor and human rights activist

"Daniel Kanstroom has written another remarkable book about the U.S. deportation system. Reading Aftermath is a must for anyone seriously interested in understanding the underbelly of contemporary US border control policy and the urgency of immigration reform."—Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University

"In this cogent, well-written and, at times, poignant work of scholarship, Daniel Kanstroom looks unflinchingly at the understudied issue of deportation's aftermath. No one interested in immigration policy will be unmoved by his deft unveiling of the injustices that routinely accompany the US's use of large-scale deportation. More than simply showing its problems, this work provides a convincing account of how the deportation system can be reformed to make it less of an affront to basic principles of morality and legal fairness."—Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford

"Dan Kanstroom is among the most daring and inventive migration scholars writing today. Many studies of immigration law and policy start with the foreign national's arrival in the United States and end with her forced departure. But for nearly all individuals and families, life does not end with removal. Aftermath carries the story forward, rounding out the picture to include previously-overlooked narratives of life for those removed, those left behind, and the enduring efforts of millions of households to preserve the ties that bind. It is a fair-minded and accessible book that lays bare the gross failings of our current deportation machinery, but also, in illuminating experience in what Kanstroom terms "the new American diaspora," points to a way out of the terrible box we are now in."—Michael J. Wishnie, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199742721
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/06/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Kanstroom is Professor of Law at Boston College and author of Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History.

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