Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration


With painstaking research, an unerring eye for just the right illustration, and her unique narrative style, award-winning author Ann Bausum makes the history of immigration in America come alive for young people. The story of America has always been shaped by people from all corners of the Earth who came in search of a better life and a brighter future. Immigration remains one of the critical topics in 21st century America, and how our children learn the lessons of the past will...

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With painstaking research, an unerring eye for just the right illustration, and her unique narrative style, award-winning author Ann Bausum makes the history of immigration in America come alive for young people. The story of America has always been shaped by people from all corners of the Earth who came in search of a better life and a brighter future. Immigration remains one of the critical topics in 21st century America, and how our children learn the lessons of the past will shape all our futures.

The patriotic stories of hope that shape most immigration books are supplemented here by the lesser-known stories of those denied, detained, and deported. Ann Bausum’s compelling book presents a revealing series of snapshots from the dark side of immigration history including:

   •  Immigrants Denied: The St. Louis, a ship filled with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany sought refuge in American ports and was turned away, condemning many of its passengers to ultimately perish in the Holocaust.
   • Immigrants Detained: Japanese-Americans were rounded up during World War II and placed in detention centers—regardless of their patriotism—for security reasons.
   • Immigrants Deported: Emma Goldman was branded a dangerous extremist and sent back to Russia in 1919, after living 30 years in the United States.

Ann Bausum creates a bridge from the lessons of the past to the present with fascinating analysis of how our past has influenced modern events and current views on immigration.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Heather Christensen
Bausum immediately sets the tone of this book with two introductory poems. Emma Lazarus's romantic words of welcoming, "Give me your tired, your poor," in her 1883 poem, "The New Colossus," appears opposite Naomi Shihab Nye's 2008 poem, "Statue of Liberty Dreams of Emma Lazarus, Awakens with Tears on Her Cheeks," which illuminates the stark reality of many seeking refuge in America's harbors. Bausum enters the timely debate on immigration reform by relating five stories of some of those disappointed by Lady Liberty's promise. Whether chronicling the "sometimes exploitative, sometimes beneficial cycle" experienced by Mexican migrant workers or the senseless denial of entry to Jews like Walter Karliner escaping Nazi Germany, Bausum's engaging storytelling will draw readers into the complex issues of immigration. Sepia-toned photographs that appear on nearly every spread consistently underscore the book's theme and give the stories a strong sense of time and place. The three nonfiction accounts that make up the core of this book are the result of extensive careful research, as evidenced by the comprehensive bibliography and meticulous resource notes included. Additionally a six-page time line places the book's personal stories alongside major events and policies in the history of U.S. immigration. This book would be invaluable for a unit on immigration or on any of the specific time periods covered within. The accessible narrative style will entice pleasure readers as well. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
Children's Literature - Lynn O'Connell
Immigration remains an important and highly controversial issue here in America today. Combining both research and storytelling skills, author Bausum puts a personal face on immigration as she relates some of the less well-known stories. She also uses the book to conjure up for today's readers key lessons to be learned from the past. The book has five chapters, each with one particular focus: exclusion, deportation, denial, detainment, or exploitation. All chapters begin with a discussion-generating quote. One quote early in the book reads, "We want them for our low-grade work, and when it is finished we want them to go home and stay there until we want them again." Another quote, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, reads, "Our tradition as an asylum for the oppressed is going to be withheld." Each chapter also uses a poignant example to illustrate its focus, including the detainment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the 1862 Chinese Exclusion Act, and the deportation of Emma Goldman. These chapter snapshots will bring history alive to readers, while also putting a historical perspective on the modern reader's understanding of immigration. Reviewer: Lynn O'Connell
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

Opening with Emma Lazarus's famous poem, "The New Colossus," and a powerful response poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, this volume deals frankly with the more troubling aspects of United States immigration policy. The author chose the stories of three immigrants. Each one stands alone, but read together they show a disturbing trend. Twelve-year-old German-Jew Herb Karliner was denied entry to the United States at the border when he attempted to escape Nazi Germany. Sixteen-year-old Japanese-American Mary Matsuda was detained with the rest of her family during World War II. Labor-activist Emma Goldman was deported for her "un-American" views. Each story explores parallels in the present day. The themes of the three stories are unified by the introduction and conclusion, which deal with Chinese immigration during the late 19th century and the history of immigration across the southern border of the United States, respectively. Photographs throughout will help students relate to the narrative. An extensive time line and a resource guide are included. This book is not intended to cover the entire topic of immigration, but instead focuses solely on instances in which the United States appears to have made mistakes. The author even takes time to explore possible negative consequences of making the "better" decision, acknowledging that it's impossible to know what unforeseen outcomes would have resulted. While narrow in its focus, this is an interesting and readable book, well worth purchasing for any collection.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Kirkus Reviews
From the opening pages, Bausum makes no secret of her views on U.S. immigration policy. Contending that "[a]rguments for and against immigration tend to repeat in cycles," the focus is on the implicit warning contained in five stories: the 1882 exclusion of Chinese immigrants, the 1919 deportation of anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the tragic 1939 refusal of entry for Jewish passengers of the St. Louis, the World War II detention of Japanese-American citizens and exploitation of Mexican migrant workers that began during the same era. Meticulously researched and documented, and illustrated with period photographs, this effort provides detailed information on some of the darkest episodes in U.S. immigration history and ends with a summary of current immigration issues. Very much an argument, this work does less interrogation of the consequences of a truly open border than might be wished, and it's equally possible to posit that nativist sentiment is constant rather than cyclical. Though unevenly effective at capturing the motivating political and popular forces at work during these times, however, it is a useful resource. (timeline, resource guide, bibliography, resource notes, citations and illustration credits, index) (Nonfiction. 11 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426303326
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 4/14/2009
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,457,379
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1170L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Bausum is the daughter of a history professor, and she grew up with a love of American history and a passion for research. This award-winning author has published several books for National Geographic Books, including the acclaimed reference book, Our Country’s First Ladies. Another of her titles, Freedom Riders, was named a Sibert Honor Book. She lives in Beloit, WI.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Poems 6

Introduction 8

1 Excluded: "Unguarded Stand Our Gates" 12

2 Deported: "Nowhere at Home" 24

3 Denied: "A Voyage of Doom" 42

4 Detained: "Uncertainty Was All We Knew" 60

5 Exploited: "When We Want You, We'll Call You" 80

Afterword 92

Time Line 96

Resource Guide 102

Bibliography 103

Resource Notes and Acknowledgments 106

Citations and Illustrations Credits 108

Index 110

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