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American Historical ReviewThis is an ambitious, thought-provoking study.
— Elliott R. Barkan
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The danger of deportation hangs over the head of virtually every noncitizen in the United States. In the complexities and inconsistencies of immigration law, one can find a reason to deport almost any noncitizen at almost any time. In recent years, the system has been used with unprecedented vigor against millions of deportees.
We are a nation of immigrants--but which ones do we want, and what do we do with those that we don't? These questions have troubled American law and politics since colonial times.
Deportation Nation is a chilling history of communal self-idealization and self-protection. The post-Revolutionary Alien and Sedition Laws, the Fugitive Slave laws, the Indian "removals," the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Palmer Raids, the internment of the Japanese Americans--all sought to remove those whose origins suggested they could never become "true" Americans. And for more than a century, millions of Mexicans have conveniently served as cheap labor, crossing a border that was not official until the early twentieth century and being sent back across it when they became a burden.
By illuminating the shadowy corners of American history, Daniel Kanstroom shows that deportation has long been a legal tool to control immigrants' lives and is used with increasing crudeness in a globalized but xenophobic world.
Kanstroom is a committed advocate and a provocatively tendentious historian, not a detached policy analyst. This accounts for both the strengths and the limitations of his admirably accessible, well-written, and usefully endnoted book. It will be valuable to anyone who wants to understand the precursors of today’s broad deportation power, as well as its evolution into an instrument of wide-ranging governmental power over the conduct, status, and insecurities of immigrants hoping to sink roots in the USA.
— Peter H. Schuck
From the deportation of self-proclaimed anarchist Emma Goldman in 1919, to Attorney General Mitchell Palmer's raids against alleged left-wing subversives in the 1920s, to the use of immigration laws against members of groups involved in organized crime and the Communist Party in later decades, and to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, Deportation Nation weaves a fascinating tale of the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of American immigration law. Kanstroom illustrates the government's selective use of immigration law, especially during periods of war and national emergencies...This is a timely book, and I highly recommend it.
— Bob Beer
This is an ambitious, thought-provoking study.
— Elliott R. Barkan
An ambitious reframing of the history of U.S. immigration law since colonial times. Making rich use of primary and secondary sources, this important book is both a work of legal history and an analysis of modern doctrine and policy. It examines the evolution of deportation as a system of "post-entry social control" that views noncitizens as "eternal guests" on "eternal probation." Kanstroom contrasts deportation as post-entry social control with a concept of deportation as extended border control that is limited to correcting mistakes in the admission process or enforcing the conditions of admission...Deportation Nation makes an invaluable contribution by bringing us to the brink of these questions about a fundamental aspect of justice in immigration, but leaves some of the answers for another day.
— Hiroshi Motomura
1 Introduction 1
2 Antecedents 21
Part 1 English Roots, Colonial Controls, and Criminal Transportation 23
Part 2 The Alien and Sedition Acts: A "First Experiment" 46
Part 3 Indian Removal, Fugitive Slave Laws, and "Colonization" 63
3 From Chinese Exclusion to Post-Entry Social Control: The Early Formation of the Modern Deportation System 91
4 The Second Wave: Expansion and Refinement of Modern Deportation Law 131
5 The Third Wave: 1930-1964 161
6 Discretion, Jurisdiction Stripping, and Retroactivity, 1965-2006 225