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Defining America Through Immigration Policy

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Defining America: Through Immigration Policy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592132324
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 2/13/2004
  • Series: Mapping Racisms Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.42 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 1
1 The Western European New World and the New Americans 11
2 The Undesirable Asian 28
3 "Translate This": The 1917 Literacy Law 51
4 The Xenophobic 1920s 62
5 The 1952 Act: Excluding Communities, Homosexuals, and Other Undesirables 73
6 1965 to 1990: From Discriminatory Quotas to Discriminatory Diversity Visas 93
7 Politicizing the Southwest Border 115
8 Patrolling the Border and Sweeping for Mexicans 134
9 IRCA: Penalizing Employers, as Amnesty Barely Survives 155
10 The Dark Side of Modern-Day Enforcement: Operation Gatekeeper 184
11 Removal 209
12 The Politics of Asylum 233
Epilogue: Two Americas 259
Appendix 277
Notes 285
Index 317
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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Defining Amerika

    DEFINING AMERICA THROUGH IMMIGRATION POLICY by Law Professor Bill Ong Hing, is divided into two parts. The first part is a general history of immigration and legislation concering immigration from the late 1700's through the post-quota era of the 70's and 80's and the September 11th fall-out. The second part deals mostly with clandestine border crossers from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The first part is a little dry and repetitive with information already covered in part in such books as CIVIL RIGHTS IN IMMIGRATION by Milton Konvitz (Cornell, 1952) and Oscar Card in NATIONALISM & RACE IN AMERICA (Anchor Books, 1957). However, Professor Hing does provide some info not included in these other books. The second part is more interestingly written, covering the 1986 amnesty bill and Operation Gatekeeper with brief detours to former Nazi collaborators, John Lennon's case and Iranian students during the hostage crisis. One excellent argument Professor Hing makes here is how the US spends more and more money on the "War on Drugs" Crusade to little effect while repeating the same mistake on human smuggling and clandestine crossings. (A libertarian irony is how many Americans favor legalized drugs--or at least decriminilization of marihuana, but tighter punitive measures on the border for clandestine crossings. Rand Paul, for instance.) He also, surprisingly, points out the "morality" of certain US border-enforcement policies--namely, the Clinton-initiated "Gatekeeper." True, this point may be subjective to a degree and difficult to argue for, but it is comforting to hear older liberals and progressives still use the word "moral" and "morality." Another example, would be when one of the producers of the documentary film, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH was making his acceptance speech for an Academy Award, he referred to global warming as a "moral issue" as opposed to a mere environmental one. The reason I point this out is that both conservatives and liberals relegate morals and morality to mere sexual ethics, when in reality it is much more than just that. My own opposition to the Death Penalty, for example, is a moral choice and has ABOSULUTELY NOTHING to do on whether it serves as a deterrant or not or even out of fear of executing the wrong person. One very important fact that I come away with this book, even though I have read numerous books on US history, is that much of the history of the United States of America for the past 175 years has been a history of exclusion. This exclusion is evident in the following: the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Quota Acts of 1917, 1921, 1924 & 1952; the Gentlemen's Agreement, the Palmer Raids, the creation of the Border Patrol (initially established to prevent Chinese smuggling from the southern border), the repatration of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, 1929 - 1939, Ike's Operation Wetback in 1954, the termination of the Bracero Program in 1964, Operation Gatekeeper in 1994 and post-9/11 punitive measures. One could even include the old Jim Crow laws as an expression of the same mentality. A final note is that the book could have used better editing or at least have been more tightly written. However, it still remains a very much recommended book.

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