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The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (2nd Ed.)

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (Second Edition)

U.S. immigration has been the subject of furious debates for decades. On one side, politicians and the media talk about aliens and criminals, with calls to “deport them all.” On the other side, some advocates idealize immigrants and gloss over problems associated with immigration. Dialogue becomes possible when we dig deeper and ask tough questions: Why are people in other countries leaving their homes and coming here? What does it mean to be “illegal”? How do immigration raids, prisons, and border walls impact communities? Who suffers and who profits from our current system—and what would happen if we transformed it? | more…

2013 Immigration Reform March

Marx on Immigration

Workers, Wages, and Legal Status

Given the intense and often bitter debates over immigration now taking place in the United States and Europe…. [Marx’s thoughts on the subject have] received surprisingly little attention from the modern left.… [Marx wrote about immigrant workers] nearly 150 years ago, and he was certainly not infallible, but a great deal of his analysis sounds remarkably contemporary.… [And among his insights, largely ignored by economists and activists alike, is] the one Marx considered “most important of all”: the way immigration can be used to create “a working class divided into two hostile camps.” | more…

The Part of “Illegal” They Don’t Understand

Anyone who really wants to understand U.S. immigration policy needs to read the brief history of the U.S.-Mexico border in Aviva Chomsky’s often-brilliant new book on immigration.… Politicians constantly tell us we have lost control of the border. In fact, as Undocumented demonstrates, never in the 166 years since the border was established by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has it been so tightly controlled as it is now. For nearly half its history it was exactly the thing immigration opponents say they fear most—an open border. The first serious restrictions did not come until a head tax and a literacy requirement were imposed in 1917, and even then there was an exemption for Mexican workers, the people most likely to enter the country from the south.… The United States wanted this labor for a reason: it was cheap and disposable. | more…

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

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. | more…