Tuesday, January 14, 2020
From the Bookshelves: No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants by Alina Das (available April 2020)
A provocative account of the long, racist history of our immigration system, revealing how it has become the brutal machine that today upends the lives of millions of immigrants
Each year in the United States, 300,000 people are arrested, imprisoned, and deported, trapped in what leading immigrant rights activist and lawyer Alina Das calls the “deportation machine.” The bulk of the arrests target people who have a criminal record–so-called “criminal aliens”–the majority of whose offenses are immigration-, drug-, or traffic-related. These individuals are uprooted from their homes, their families, and their communities, and banished.
Through the stories of those caught in the system, Das traces the ugly history of immigration policy to explain how the US constructed the idea of the “criminal alien,” effectively dividing immigrants into the categories “good” and “bad,” “deserving” and “undeserving.” As Das argues, we need to confront the cruelty of the machine so that we can build an inclusive immigration policy premised on human dignity and break the cycle once and for all.