They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration [NOOK Book]

Overview

Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal ...
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They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration

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Overview

Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose.

In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think—and have been thinking—about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that non-citizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Drawing on immigration history and left-wing economic analysis, historian and immigrants' rights activist Chomsky (Profits of Extermination) aims to debunk the assumptions informing the current immigration debate in this well-researched if stiffly written account. She offers straightforward arguments against anti-immigrant perceptions such as the one in the book's title: the "number of jobs is notfinite, it is elastic," Chomsky asserts, pointing out that in the "postindustrial economy," many manufacturing jobs have been replaced by low-paying service jobs. In response to the accusation that "immigrants don't pay taxes," Chomsky notes that textile jobs that were once a part of the "formal sector" are now informal (i.e., they do not offer benefits or collect taxes)—for which she blames the employers. As for immigrants' alleged reluctance to learn English, the author observes that as one generation becomes fluent, new Spanish speakers arrive; she defends non-English speakers by citing the waiting lists for ESL classes and explaining that immigrants with a history as a conquered people (e.g. Mexicans) more stubbornly retain their heritage. Though Chomsky presents an agile blend of the history of race and immigration in the U.S. with current events, the book's format of offering liberal polemics to anti-immigrant questions forces her into a defensive, didactic tone. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Chomsky (history, Salem State Coll.; West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica 1870-1940) provides a timely look at immigration and debunks myths about the problems immigrants pose for American citizens. She writes that the very term "American jobs" is outmoded in this global economy and that, though immigrants come here for wages higher than they can earn at home, these wages are low by American standards. In their first years, Chomsky concedes, immigrants may be net consumers of public services, but they pay sales, income, and property taxes. Without legal status, they are neither protected by laws or unions, nor treated decently. Ironically, she writes, many who rail against "illegals" in this country are the descendants of Europeans who settled here when America hadn't yet systematized its immigration policy. Lastly, Chomsky addresses attitudes about immigration and proposed "solutions" and shares her belief that a more humane and racially progressive policy is needed. The time line at the end is helpful. Solidly recommended for public library current events sections.
—Duncan Stewart

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807041574
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 652,544
  • File size: 799 KB

Meet the Author

Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants' rights issues for over twenty-five years. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.
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