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In this illuminating work, immigrant rights activist Aviva Chomsky shows how "illegality" and "undocumentedness" are concepts that were created to exclude and exploit. With a focus on US policy, she probes how people, especially Mexican and Central Americans, have been assigned this status - and to what ends. Blending history with human drama, Chomsky explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context. The result is a powerful testament of the complex, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of status in America.
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By Yvette and Ben on 04-05-18
Readable, well-researched, and thorough
Chomsky’s analysis of America’s racialized history of immigration is first rate. With new immigration legislation result legislation in 1965 came the notion of humans being “ illegal” based on their place of birth. All of this preserved the country’s system of cheap labor — a system that continues to buttress many American industries. Stricter enforcement practices, and an ever-militarized border, has only ever led toward an increase Mexican immigrants. They recognized the cost of leaving and abandoned migratory practices, opting instead to remain in the US.
I enjoyed the way Chomsky interwove the stories of those most impacted by the creation of “illegality.” It is clear what is at stake and it is inexcusable to turn ourselves away from the injustice. Immigration policies are not and have never been reflections of a natural order.
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