The Politics Of Immigration

Overview

In the spring of 2006, millions of immigrants and supporters organized in cities and small towns across the United States to defend their rights following the passage of HR4437, a bill designed to punish unauthorized immigrants. In an unprecedented show of force, tens of thousands of workers marched out of meatpacking plants, factories, restaurants, landscape businesses and stores, while students-many of them the US-born children of immigrants-staged school walkouts. Thousands also observed a one-day national ...
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Overview

In the spring of 2006, millions of immigrants and supporters organized in cities and small towns across the United States to defend their rights following the passage of HR4437, a bill designed to punish unauthorized immigrants. In an unprecedented show of force, tens of thousands of workers marched out of meatpacking plants, factories, restaurants, landscape businesses and stores, while students-many of them the US-born children of immigrants-staged school walkouts. Thousands also observed a one-day national consumer boycott to demonstrate the economic power of immigrant communities.

The spring 2006 mobilizations-and the ensuing backlash from anti-immigrant sectors-pushed the topic of immigration to the front and center of U.S. politics. Polls show the public increasingly divided, with the debate framed as a choice between "deport them all" and "give everyone amnesty." But dialogue is possible when we dig deeper. Why are people leaving their homes? Why are they coming here? What is the impact of our current enforcement policies? What kinds of alternatives exist?

Backed with a wide range of cited sources, The Politics of Immigration tackles questions and concerns about immigration with compelling arguments and hard facts, laid out in straightforward language and an accessible question‑and‑answer format.

For immigrants and supporters, the book is an effective tool to confront common myths and disinformation. For teachers, it provides a useful framework on the current debate, and ample opportunities for students to reach out and explore the intersecting issues.

Those who believe immigrants steal jobs from citizens, drive down wages, strain public services, and threaten our culture will find such assumptions challenged here, while people who are undecided about immigration will find the solid data and clear reasoning they need to develop an informed opinion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“We desperately need to put aside false information about immigrants, to see them as we see ourselves with honesty and compassion. This book gives powerful meaning to the slogan 'No Human Being is Illegal.' I hope it will be widely read.”
-Howard Zinn

,

“In 2006, foreign nationals led the largest protests in the nation's history. As the immigrant rights movement grows in size and energy, we need quick facts and deep history. This encyclopedic book gives us both. Readers move in rapid fire from sanctuary and legalization to guestworker programs, raids and deportations. The argument is easy to follow, for families struggling to stay together and activists of all walks who are struggling to expose the issues.”
-Aarti Shahani,co-founder, Families for Freedom

“Guskin and Wilson have written an excellent book about immigration politics, a very complex subject, in an accessible and provocative way. They use a question and answer format, which allows them to directly address some of the most heated issues in this national debate. They've done a great job of identifying these hot-button points, and go about undoing the stereotypes, misinformation and prejudice that paralyze rational thought about immigration policy. In the process, they break down complex sets of ideas into their component pieces, giving each one its own question. This book is a great reality check, a good teaching tool, and a powerful weapon against racism.”
-David Bacon,Photojournalist and trade unionist, author of Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration

“Guskin and Wilson have written an excellent book about immigration politics, a very complex subject, in an accessible and provocative way. They use a question and answer format, which allows them to directly address some of the most heated issues in this national debate. They've done a great job of identifying these hot-button points, and go about undoing the stereotypes, misinformation and prejudice that paralyze rational thought about immigration policy. In the process, they break down complex sets of ideas into their component pieces, giving each one its own question. This book is a great reality check, a good teaching tool, and a powerful weapon against racism.”
-David Bacon,Photojournalist and trade unionist, author of Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583671559
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson are the co-editors of Weekly News Update on the Americas.

Guskin also edits Immigration New Briefs. Guskin produced a widely circulated immigrant rights flier entitled "What's So Wrong About Immigration?" Her essay "The Case for Open Borders" was published in Melting Point or Boiling Point? The Issues of Immigration.

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Table of Contents


Preface: Is the United States a Nation of Immigrants?     11
Authors' Notes     13
Who Are the Immigrants?     15
How do we define immigrants?     15
How many immigrants are here?     16
Are immigrants different from other people?     17
Who are the undocumented immigrants?     17
Is there a "new wave" of immigration?     18
Is the new wave really new?     19
Are politicians stirring up a panic about immigration?     19
Why Do People Immigrate?     21
What are the "root causes" of migration?     21
Why do people come to the United States?     22
Is it our fault other countries have so many problems?     23
Why do so many Mexicans come here?     24
Why don't people stay home and fix their own countries?     26
What happens when people do try to fix their countries?     27
How can we address the root causes of immigration?     29
Does the United States Welcome Refugees?     31
What is a refugee?     31
The Voyage of the St. Louis     32
Who gets political asylum?     33
Are all refugees treated equally?     34
Why do Cubans get special treatment?     36
Why Can't They Just "Get Legal"?     39
Is it really important who's "legal" and who's not?     39
How "illegal" is immigration, anyway?     40
Criminal or Civil?     41
Why don't immigrants "follow the rules"?     41
Don't all immigrants bring their extended families here?     42
Isn't there some kind of "visa lottery"?     42
Is it really so hard to get a tourist visa?     43
"Yacht people"     44
Aren't there lots of other ways to come here legally?     45
Once immigrants have been here a while, can't they "get legal"?     45
Isn't there some kind of "waiver"?     46
Who can "get legal"?     46
What about the so-called "anchor babies"?     47
Couldn't immigrants become U.S. citizens if they wanted to?     48
Is It Easy to Be "Illegal"?     51
Is it easy to live here "illegally"?     51
Do immigrants have the right to an education?     54
Are undocumented workers more exploited?     55
Are all workers protected by labor laws?     56
Do immigrants have constitutional rights?     58
Do immigrants have the right to protest?     60
How can you tell who's a citizen and who's not?     60
Are Immigrants Hurting Our Economy?     63
How much do immigrants cost us?     63
Do immigrants collect welfare?     64
Do immigrants pay taxes?     64
How much do out-of-status immigrants get back?     65
The 9/11 Victims     66
Do remittances drain the economy?     67
Do immigrants take our jobs?     67
Don't they just take jobs we don't want?     68
Do immigrants bring down wages?     69
Why do they work for less?     70
Who benefits from low wages for immigrants?     70
What can we do about the "race to the bottom"?     71
Is Immigration Bad for Our Health, Environment, Or Culture?     73
Do immigrants endanger public health?     74
What about epidemics like TB and AIDS?     74
Is immigration bad for the environment?     76
Do immigrants care about the environment?     77
Are immigrants to blame for population growth?     77
Is overpopulation a serious environmental threat?     78
How can we slow population growth?     78
What about overcrowding in our communities?     79
Do immigrants learn English?     79
Are the new immigrants too "different" to assimilate?     80
What factors slow assimilation?     81
Who are the "real Americans"?     82
Are Immigrants a Threat?     83
Do immigrants commit more crimes than non-immigrants?     83
Is it unfair to treat immigrants who commit crimes differently than citizens?     84
Does deportation make us safer?     85
Is there a link between immigration and terrorism?     86
Is the government going after foreign terrorists?     87
How did the September 11 hijackers get here?     88
Who decides who's a terrorist?     89
Does the crackdown on immigrants make us safer?     91
How does the crackdown on immigrants affect the rest of us?     91
Did all this start with September 11?     92
Are immigrant workers a national security risk?     94
Enforcement: Is It a Solution?     95
If we enforce our laws, will the problem go away?     95
What if we deport all the "illegal" immigrants?     95
Are we doing enough to secure the border?     96
What has border enforcement done so far?     97
Can't we seal off the border?     99
How would smugglers deal with "sealed" borders?      100
Can't we cut off the "job magnet"?     102
What have employer sanctions accomplished?     103
How are employer sanctions enforced?     104
How does workplace enforcement affect organizing?     105
If we make life hard enough for immigrants, will they leave?     105
Who profits from enforcement?     106
What About "Guest Worker" and Amnesty Programs?     109
Are "guest worker" programs a solution?     109
How did we end up with these "guest worker" programs?     110
Slavery in the Cane Fields     112
What happened to the Mexican "braceros"?     112
How are "guest workers" treated now?     114
What happens when "guest workers" defend their rights?     116
Do "guest worker" programs hurt U.S. workers?     117
What's all this talk about amnesty?     117
Haven't we already had an amnesty?     118
What impact will amnesty have in the United States now?     119
Won't amnesty cause more problems later on?     119
Why Do We Jail and Deport Immigrants?     121
Who gets deported, and why?     121
What happens to people who are deported?     122
What happens to the families of deportees?      123
What is immigration detention?     124
Is immigration detention new?     124
Who is in immigration detention, and where?     125
How long do people spend in detention?     126
How bad is detention really?     127
The Story of S     129
How are families affected by detention?     130
Is detention necessary?     131
Who pays for detention-and who profits?     131
Can We Open Our Borders?     133
What do we mean by open borders?     133
Have any countries actually tried opening their borders?     133
Does the European Union really have open borders?     135
Has freedom of movement caused problems in Europe?     135
Does freedom of movement threaten national identity or culture?     136
How can we keep criminals and terrorists out without borders?     137
Is opening the borders part of "free trade"?     137
How would freedom of movement actually work here?     138
How would we control citizenship?     139
What would happen if we opened the U.S. borders?     139
Wouldn't we be flooded with immigrants?     140
Would our standard of living collapse?     140
Could freedom of movement really work?     141
Resources     143
Suggested readings     143
Suggested films     144
Organizations     144
"Know-your-rights" information for immigrants     146
Notes     147
Index     171
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