Living

Living "Illegal": The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration

by Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Timothy J Steigenga, Philip J. Williams, Manuel A. Vasquez
     
 

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Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive.

A major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an

Overview


Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive.

A major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an ambitious new account of the least understood and most relevant aspects of the American immigrant experience today. Based on years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured stories of real people—working, building families, and enriching their communities even as the political climate grows more 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 (which have quietly emerged as the only organizations open to migrants), into the fields of Florida, onto the streets of major American cities during the historic immigrant rights marches of 2006, and back and forth across different national boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala.

A deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will stand as an authoritative new guide to one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this probing investigation, a team of scholars in political science, religion, and Latin American studies offers a considered account of the complex global dynamics that shape immigration in America. The authors track the oscillations in U.S. immigration policy, from the open borders of the country's early history through the rising tide of nativism in the early 20th century and the growing restrictiveness of immigration policy over the past 20 years. Focusing on emerging immigrant destinations like Atlanta and South Florida, the book charts long-standing patterns of immigration between Mexico and the U.S., as well as newer inflows from Guatemala and Brazil. It shows firsthand the plight of undocumented day laborers who make easy targets for exploitative bosses, the parents who are separated from their children, the women assaulted or raped as they cross through Mexico—as well as the quieter stories of immigrants joining churches, paying taxes, and contributing to their communities, emphasizing the church's role in this negotiation between two worlds. In its compassionate and well-reasoned exploration of why migrants come to the U.S. and how they integrate into American society, this book appeals to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature" and makes a well-reasoned case for a more humane immigration policy. (July)
From the Publisher

"[C]ompassionate and well-reasoned . . . this book appeals to what Lincoln called 'the better angels of our nature.'"
Publishers Weekly

"[T]imely . . . a thoughtful volume that contains serious and humane suggestions for reform."
Choice

"A uniquely nuanced and human view of the unauthorized immigrants at the heart of the immigration debate."
—Donald Kerwin, executive director, Center for Migration Studies

"Provides persuasive and compelling answers to all the tough questions we need to address."
—Judith Adler Hellman, author of The World of Mexican Migrants

"Immigration reform has a human face. . . . This study clearly brings this to the fore and should be on the reading list of all those who . . . are interested in the immigration issue."
—Roman Popadiuk, executive director, George Bush Presidential Library Foundation

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595586513
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
08/16/2011
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author


Marie Friedmann Marquardt is a scholar-in-residence at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. Timothy J. Steigenga is a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida. Philip J. Williams is the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. Manuel A. Vásquez is an associate professor of religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.

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