Thursday, April 9, 2020

From the Bookshelves: No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants by Alina Das


No  Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants by Alina Das (publication date April 14)

This provocative account of our immigration system's long, racist history reveals how it has become the brutal machine that upends the lives of millions of immigrants today. Each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of 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 and banished from their homes, their families, and their communities.

Through the stories of those caught in the system, Das traces the ugly history of immigration policy to explain how the U.S. 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.


April 9, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

From the Bookshelves: Against Borders: Why the World Needs Free Movement of People by Alex Sager

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Against Borders: Why the World Needs Free Movement of People by Alex Sager

This book provides a philosophical defence of open borders. Two policy dogmas are the right of sovereign states to restrict immigration and the infeasibility of opening borders. These dogmas persist in face of the human suffering caused by border controls and in spite of a global economy where the mobility of goods and capital is combined with severe restrictions on the movement of most of the world’s poor. Alex Sager argues that immigration restrictions violate human rights and sustain unjust global inequalities, and that we should reject these dogmas that deprive hundreds of millions of people of opportunities solely because of their place of birth. Opening borders would promote human freedom, foster economic prosperity, and mitigate global inequalities. Sager contends that studies of migration from economics, history, political science, and other disciplines reveal that open borders are a feasible goal for political action, and that citizens around the world have a moral obligation to work toward open borders.


April 8, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Invitation to a Virtual Book Launch: Perchance to Dream by Michael A. Olivas

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NYU Press is sponsoring a special virtual book launch with author Michael A. Olivas on Friday, April 10 at 10 MT/12 EST. Here is a link to the details of the book Perchance to Dream and the way to join by ZOOM

Michael A. Olivas introduced by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Book Launch for Perchance to Dream: A Legal and Political History of the DREAM Act and DACA
FRIDAY. APRIL 10, 2020 | 10:00 AM MT/ 12pm EST
Attend via Zoom online.

Perchance to DREAM is the first comprehensive history of the DREAM Act, which made its initial congressional appearance in 2001, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the discretionary program established by President Obama in 2012 out of Congressional failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Michael A. Olivas relates the history of the DREAM Act and DACA over the course of two decades.

Michael A. Olivas is William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at UH. 

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Founding Director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law in University Park, Pennsylvania.


April 6, 2020 in Books, Conferences and Call for Papers, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From The Bookshelves: Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s Children of the Land


Here's another book to add to your quarantine reading list: Children of the Land, a memoir by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo.

Castillo is one of the founders of Undocupoets, whose mission is "to promote the work of undocumented poets and raise consciousness about the structural barriers that they face in the literary community." His book of poetry, Cenzontle, is also available on Amazon.

In Children of the Land, Castillo takes a different approach. As he told the WSJ, “With poetry, I could really distance myself, and with prose I couldn’t.”

Here's the Amazon summary:

When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.

With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor.

Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.


April 6, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 3, 2020

From the Bookshelves: Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico Border by John Carlos Frey

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Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico by John Carlos Frey (2019).

A damning portrait of the U.S.-Mexico border, where militaristic fantasies are unleashed, violent technologies are tested, and immigrants are targeted.

Over the past three decades, U.S. immigration and border security policies have turned the southern states into conflict zones, spawned a network of immigrant detention centers, and unleashed an army of ICE agents into cities across the country.

As award-winning journalist John Carlos Frey reveals in this groundbreaking book, the war against immigrants has been escalating for decades, fueled by defense contractors and lobbyists seeking profits and politicians--Republicans and Democrats alike--who relied on racist fear-mongering to turn out votes. After 9/11, while Americans' attention was trained on the Middle East and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the War on Terror was ramping up on our own soil--aimed not at terrorists but at economic migrants, refugees, and families from South and Central America seeking jobs, safety, and freedom in the U.S.

But we are no safer. Instead, families are being ripped apart, undocumented people are living in fear, and thousands of migrants have died in detention or crossing the border.

Taking readers to the Border Patrol outposts, unmarked graves, detention centers, and halls of power, Sand and Blood is a frightening, essential story we must not ignore.

Mae Kuykendall reviews Sand and Blood for Jotwell.


April 3, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Katherine Benton-Cohen


In 2009, Katherine Benton-Cohen (Georgetown-History) published her first book -- Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands. Here is how the publisher (Harvard Univ. Press) describes it:

“Are you an American, or are you not?” This was the question Harry Wheeler, sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, used to choose his targets in one of the most remarkable vigilante actions ever carried out on U.S. soil. And this is the question at the heart of Katherine Benton-Cohen’s provocative history, which ties that seemingly remote corner of the country to one of America’s central concerns: the historical creation of racial boundaries.

It was in Cochise County that the Earps and Clantons fought, Geronimo surrendered, and Wheeler led the infamous Bisbee Deportation, and it is where private militias patrol for undocumented migrants today. These dramatic events animate the rich story of the Arizona borderlands, where people of nearly every nationality—drawn by “free” land or by jobs in the copper mines—grappled with questions of race and national identity. Benton-Cohen explores the daily lives and shifting racial boundaries between groups as disparate as Apache resistance fighters, Chinese merchants, Mexican-American homesteaders, Midwestern dry farmers, Mormon polygamists, Serbian miners, New York mine managers, and Anglo women reformers.

Racial categories once blurry grew sharper as industrial mining dominated the region. Ideas about home, family, work and wages, manhood and womanhood all shaped how people thought about race. Mexicans were legally white, but were they suitable marriage partners for “Americans”? Why were Italian miners described as living “as no white man can”? By showing the multiple possibilities for racial meanings in America, Benton-Cohen’s insightful and informative work challenges our assumptions about race and national identity.

Another great read to add to your quarantine bookshelf!


March 26, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From the Bookshelves: The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

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Have some time to catch up on immigration reading?  Check out The Undocumented Americans” by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, which was released yesterday.  In a New York Times review, Caitlin Dickerson writes that Villavicencio tells “‘the full story’ of what it means to be undocumented in America, in all of its fraughtness and complexity, challenging the usual good and evil categories through a series of memoir-infused reported essays.”

Here is a summary of the book from

"Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell.  So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants—and to find the hidden key to her own. 
Looking beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMers, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented—and the mysteries of her own life. She finds the singular, effervescent characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers. The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects. 
In New York, we meet the undocumented workers who were recruited into the federally funded Ground Zero cleanup after 9/11. In Miami, we enter the ubiquitous botanicas, which offer medicinal herbs and potions to those whose status blocks them from any other healthcare options. In Flint, Michigan, we learn of demands for state ID in order to receive life-saving clean water. In Connecticut, Cornejo Villavicencio, childless by choice, finds family in two teenage girls whose father is in sanctuary. And through it all we see the author grappling with the biggest questions of love, duty, family, and survival. 
In her incandescent, relentlessly probing voice, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting and powerful personal narratives to bring to light remarkable stories of resilience, madness, and death. Through these stories we come to understand what it truly means to be a stray. An expendable. A hero. An American."


March 25, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Hidden Immigration Gems in Literature


Has this ever happened to you: You're reading a fiction book, one that has nothing whatsover to do with immigration, when you stumble upon some bit of text that, out of nowhere, does mention immigration?

A few days ago, I was reading Tana French's The Likeness when lo and behold, I came across this spot of dialogue: "My friend Alan from when I was a kid, he worked on a ranch in Wyoming one summer, on a J1 visa." Let me tell y'all -- this line has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot. But I love that the author thought to include "on a J1 visa" like a pro.

I'll give you one more example -- one that's a bit longer. In Kate Messer's book Capture the Flag, three kids are at an airport where mystery and hijinks ensue. But before their adventures really begin, they get to know each other.

Anna sank into a chair and realized she'd forgotten about José, whose face was hidden behind his book again. "Oh my gosh, sorry I didn't introduce you. My dad's in a hurry a lot."

"That's okay," José mumbled. He didn't look up from his book. "He probably wouldn't have been particularly pleased to meet me anyway."



José closed his book and looked up at her. "I'm half Mexican." It came out quiet, like everything he said, but it still sounded like a challenged.

"What do you mean?"

"Immigration reform? Your dad and Snickerbottom are always talking about it on TV."

"So?" Anna said.

"My grandparents came over as migrant workers." José tipped his chin up. "My mother was born here, so she's an American citizens, but some people are still ... well, you'd know."

"Oh no, it's not like that. My dad worries about jobs, but he likes Mexicans a lot," Anna said quickly. "I mean, he likes people like you. It's, like, the bad ones that he doesn't like. I mean, not that he doesn't like them, too. He probably likes them fine. He just doesn't think some of those people should be ... here."

"Oh." José stared at her and lifted his book. "Sort of like how the Malfoy family only wants pureblood wizards at Hogwarts." He dropped his head and went back to reading.

Anna thought about that. She'd seen the Harry Potter movies, and her father was nothing like Lucius Malfoy. That guy was a jerk. Her dad worked hard to help people and just wanted to make sure there were jobs for Americans. But the whole idea gave her a rotten feeling, like a little mouse gnawing away in her stomach.

She didn't want to be a Malfoy.

Have other examples? Leave them in the comments!


March 6, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 24, 2020

From the Bookshelves: The Readmission of Asylum Seekers under International Law by Mariagiulia Giuffré


The Readmission of Asylum Seekers under International Law by Mariagiulia Giuffré, Hart Publishing, February 2020).

This monograph could not be more timely, as discourses relating to refugees' access to territory, rescue at sea, push-back, and push-back by proxy dominate political debate. Looking at the questions which lie at the junction of migration control and refugee law standards, it explores the extent to which readmission can hamper refugees' access to protection. Though it draws mainly on European law, notably the European Convention on Human Rights, it also examines other international frameworks, including those employed by the United Nations and instruments such as the Refugee Convention. Therefore, this book is of importance to readers of international law, refugee law, human rights and migration studies at the global level. It offers an analysis of both the legal and policy questions at play, and engages fully with widely-disputed cases concerning readmission agreements, deportation with assurances and interception at sea. By so doing, this book seeks to clarify a complex field which has at times suffered from partiality in both its terminology and substance.


February 24, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 22, 2020

From the Bookshelves: Judicial Review of Immigration Detention in the UK, US and EU: From Principles to Practice by Justine N Stefanelli


Judicial Review of Immigration Detention in the UK, US and EU From: Principles to Practice by Justine N Stefanelli (Hart Publishing, January 2020)

Immigration detention is considered by many states to be a necessary tool in the execution of immigration policy. Despite the apparently key role it plays in immigration enforcement, the law on immigration detention is often vague, especially in relation to determining the circumstances under which prolonged detention remains lawful. As a result, the courts are frequently called upon to adjudicate these matters, with scant legal tools at their disposal. Though there have been some significant judgments on the legality of detention at the constitutional level, the extent to which these judgments have had an impact at the lower end of the judiciary is unclear. Indeed, it is the lower courts which are tasked with judging the legality of detention through habeas corpus or judicial review proceedings.

This book examines the way this has occurred in the lower courts of two jurisdictions, the UK and the US, and contrasts this practice not only in those jurisdictions, but with judgments rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union, a constitutional court at the other end of the judicial spectrum whose judgments are applied by courts and tribunals in the EU Member States. Although these three jurisdictions use similar tests to evaluate the legality of detention, case outcomes significantly differ. Many factors contribute to this divergence, but key among them is the role that fundamental rights protection plays in each jurisdiction. Through a forensic evaluation of 191 judgments, this book compares the laws on detention in the UK, US and EU, and makes recommendations to these jurisdictions for improvement.


February 22, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thoughts on Baby Jails by Philip G. Schrag


Kevin has already posted about Baby Jails, the new book from immprof Philip G. Schrag (Georgetown) that explores the detention of migrant children.

I write today as someone who recently devoured this book. Let me start by telling you two things about myself: I hate flying and I am not much of a fan of nonfiction books. Combining these two things, I tend to read a riveting YA novel while flying in an effort to distract myself from how many feet I am unnaturally suspended above the earth's surface. Yet I recently read Schrag's book over the course of 3 flights. It was utterly engrossing.

The book is jam-packed with law and yet manages to read like a narrative. You get a feel for characters (Jenny Flores, certain attorneys and judges) and find yourself rooting from the sidelines even as you know victories will frequently fail to live up to their promise.

The book included numerous vignettes and insights that were entirely new to me. For example, did you know Ed Asner was responsible for Flores' legal representation? Yes, the grumpy old man from Pixar's Up set out to help his housekeeper's daughter who was housed with Flores and connected the young women with Peter Schey, founder of the National Center for Immigrants' Rights (now the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law).

Here's another one: Leon Fresco represented the government in a 2015 lawsuit brought by Schey to enforce the Flores settlement -- arguing that the settlement didn't apply to children traveling with parents and that the agreement was "no longer equitable." Leon Fresco! I wrote about him a few years back -- he was a key player in the failed 2013 comprehensive immigration reform led by the Gang of Eight.

I'm also impressed by how comprehensive the book is. I recently spoke to a friend who is on the cusp of publishing a book and we talked about how, at some point in the writing process, the publisher will charge by the word for additions of any kind. Yet Schrag's book must have been edited and added upon right up until the last moment of publication. There is nothing of current import that is left behind (remain in Mexico, asylum cooperation agreements, third country transit).

This book is marvelous. A tour de force. I recommend it to everyone -- even terrified flyers. Instead of gasping at every bump in the jet stream you'll be scribbling away in the margins, furious at what our nation has done to children in the name of immigration enforcement.


February 20, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sonia Nazario: My family’s refugee story shows that we can have an immigration policy that is both sane and humane.


Author of the immigration classic Enrique's Journey, Sonia Nazario tells her family's long history of fleeing persecution in the New York Times.  The conclusion reads as follows:

"Americans need to stop whining and to ride Congress to pass this bill. Every one of my fellow Jews in this country should have their hair on fire over this — especially folks like Jared Kushner, whose Polish family, like mine, found safety here.

I often get asked: What part of `illegal' don’t you understand? Well, our laws say we have to help people who are running for their lives. Take it from a Nazario: President Trump is the one who has broken the law."


February 19, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Immigration prison isn't the answer -- here's why | César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández | TEDxMileHigh


Every year, with the support of Republicans and Democrats alike, half a million people are locked up in prisons and detention centers while the government decides if they'll be allowed to stay in the United States. How did we get here? Believe it or not, immigration hasn't always worked this way.

Law professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández explains how and why we can do better. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a law professor at the University of Denver and the author of two books: Crimmigration Law and Migrating to Prison: America's Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.



February 11, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

More Dirt on American Dirt



I have posted previously on the controversy surrounding the new book American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.  I found this set of interviews on Latino USA to be fair, balanced, and interesting.  Maria Hinojosa spoke to four people at the heart of the American Dirt controversy:  Myriam Gurba — writer and author who wrote an explosive critique of the novel; Sandra Cisneros, who speaks publicly about the book for the first time; Luis Alberto Urrea, a Mexican-American author who has written extensively about border life; and finally, Jeanine Cummins, the author of American Dirt.

A book tour was cancelled.

The controversy has not hurt book sales.  American Dirt is currently number 1 on the Amazon Charts.


February 4, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Controversy Surrounds Book "American Dirt" and Its Depiction of Mexico, Migrants, Etc.



A couple weeks ago, ImmigrationProf posted an announcement of the release of the book American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Cummins received a huge seven figure advance for the book, which is a fictional account of a book store owner and her young son who flee the drug cartels in Mexico after the massacre of her family. 


American Dirt was released with some rave reviews.  Oprah Winfrey announced that that the book was selected by her much-watched book club.  (Winfrey since has acknowledged the need to discuss the issues at the core of the controversy of the book.). 


After the high flying release buzz, American Dirt has generated considerable controversy.



NPR discusses the controversy over a white author writing a book about the Mexican migrant experience, which some say include negative stereotypes of Mexico and Mexicans that Donald Trump might endorse.  The book has been characterized as "trauma porn."   Critics have levelled claims of cultural appropriation against American Dirt and Cummins.  The publishing industry, which publishes relatively few Latinx authors, has been the subject of criticism.


Rachel Martin on  WBHM also writes about the controversy:


"There’s a book you might have heard of by now. It’s called American Dirt, and it’s the much-hyped new novel from author Jeanine Cummins that was released this week.


It’s the story of a Mexican woman named Lydia and her 8-year-old son Luca, who flee their home and undertake a harrowing journey to the U.S. border after gunmen from a local drug cartel kill most of their family. It’s been hailed as `a Grapes of Wrath for our times.' In fact, that quote is on the cover of the book.


And that is one of the many problems with American Dirt, according to several critics. There have been tweet threads and essays, all arguing that the book deploys harmful stereotypes. Even a hashtag — My Latino Novel — has popped up on Twitter, where people are writing their own parodies. But there is so much more to say about race and identity in publishing, about who gets to tell what stories and which of those voices are elevated in the mainstream culture.


Los Angeles Times writer Esmeralda Bermudez has been one of the most vocal critics of American Dirt. `In 17 years of journalism, in interviewing thousands of immigrants, I’ve never come across anyone like American Dirt’s main character,' Bermudez says."




Critical reviews of American Dirt are growing in number.  Here is one by Ignacio Sanchez Pardo in the Washinton Post, which focuses on the depiction of Mexico:


"It is important for Americans to view Mexico fairly and accurately, as a country both wealthy and unequal, facing enormous social and political challenges, but also a complex society with a rich and diverse culture. Yet “American Dirt” is a reminder of the deep ignorance regarding Mexico and Mexicans in U.S. culture. As a scholar of Mexican culture, I witness how little Americans, even those with access to top educational opportunities, know about the country. It is often misrepresented as a violent and poor hell against which the United States is a promised land.


This stereotype forms the premise of `American Dirt.'”


Here is a particularly harsh -- perhaps over-the-top -- review of American Dirt.


The controversy continues.  A number of book events with the author have been cancelled.


I just completed the book.  The story it tells certainly is not what I understand to be the common story of migration from Mexico to the United States.  It read to me like a mystery/suspense/adventure novel, something akin to a James Patterson book (but with much longer chapters, descriptions, and introspection).  I am far from a literary critic but I found American Dirt to be engaging and interesting.  In terms of depicting the modern experience of migration through Mexico, most people in my opinion would learn more from Luis Urrea's The Devil's Highway or Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey.  In reading Cummins' book, I never got the sense that I was reading the work of someone who deeply understood Mexican culture, including the complex view of death among Mexicans, discrimination based on skin color in Mexican society, or the basics of a quinceanera (which is important to the opening plot).



January 28, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Happy lunar new year!

Happy lunar new year! In recognition of this significant holiday, here are two stories about Asian and Asian American culture - one celebratory and one mournful.

The Asian-American Canon Breakers (Exclude Me In in the print edition of the New Yorker) profiles writer-activists who forged a cultural identity through their writings. Four writers known as the "four horsemen" -- Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Shawn Wong, Lawson Fusao Inada -- founded the Combined Asian American Resources Project in order to mark a literary movement that distinguished between Chinese Americans who had lived in Chinatowns for multiple generations and recent immigrants to the Chinatowns who tended to be the focus of outsider writing. As Chin wrote, "“If the purpose of BRIDGE [a Chinatown magazine] is to bind me to the immigrants,” Chin wrote, “I’m not interested in being bound.”

Their writing style was colorful and irreverant. Some examples appear in the anthologies Yardbird and Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian-American Writers. Some of the authors had appeared in anthologies before “Aiiieeeee!,” such as Kai-yu Hsu and Helen Palubinskas’s “Asian-American Authors” (1972) and David Hsin-fu Wand’s “Asian-American Heritage” (1974), but the style and political tone of the new movement is distinct. The New Yorker article by Hua Hsu contains detailed analysis of the specific essays within the anthologies and mentions further examples from more modern times. Definitely worth a read.


The mournful story is about a fire that likely extinguished nearly every artifact in the collection of the New York City Chinatown's Museum of Chinese in America. The 85,000 objects were kept in storage within a building at 70 Mulberry Street that serves as a cultural hub and houses a senior center, the Chen Dance Center and a number of community groups. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to facilitate recovery.


January 25, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Understanding Immigration: A Reading List


Immigration law professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia has posted a reading list of books on immigration on the NYU Press blog.  Its a great list including some classics and soon-to-be instant classics.  One of the books Just MercyJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson's indictment of the criminal justice system.  Wadhia sees similarities between the immigration and criminal justice systems.


January 19, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 17, 2020

From the Bookshelves: Organizing While Undocumented: Immigrant Youth's Political Activism under the Law by Kevin Escudero


Organizing While Undocumented: Immigrant Youth's Political Activism under the Law by Kevin Escudero, NYU Press, March 3, 2020 

Undocumented immigrants in the United States who engage in social activism do so at great risk: the threat of deportation. In Organizing While Undocumented, Kevin Escudero shows why and how—despite this risk—many of them bravely continue to fight on the front lines for their rights.

Drawing on more than five years of research, including interviews with undocumented youth organizers, Escudero focuses on the movement’s epicenters—San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City—to explain the impressive political success of the undocumented immigrant community. He shows how their identities as undocumented immigrants, but also as queer individuals, people of color, and women, connect their efforts to broader social justice struggles today.

A timely, worthwhile read, Organizing While Undocumented gives us a look at inspiring triumphs, as well as the inevitable perils, of political activism in precarious times.



January 17, 2020 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

From the Bookshelves: Islamophobia and the Law edited by Cyra Akila Choudhury and Khaled A. Beydoun


Islamophobia and the Law edited by Cyra Akila Choudhury and Khaled A. Beydoun, Cambridge University Press, March 2020)


Islamophobia and the Law is a foundational volume of critical scholarship on the emerging form of bigotry widely known as Islamophobia. This book brings together leading legal scholars to explore the emergence and rise of Islamophobia after the 9/11 terror attacks, particularly how the law brings about state-sponsored Islamophobia and acts as a dynamic catalyst of private Islamophobia and vigilante violence against Muslims. The first book of its kind, it is a critical read for scholars and practitioners, advocates and students interested in deepening their knowledge of the subject matter. This collection addresses Islamophobia in race, immigration and citizenship, criminal law and national security, in the use of courts to advance anti-Muslim projects and in law and society.


January 16, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

From the Bookshelves: Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are by Abigail C. Saguy


Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are by Abigail C. Saguy (Oxford University Press, 2020)

  • This book shows how the concept of coming out has been used in five distinct contexts: the American LGBTQ+ movement, the fat acceptance movement, the undocumented immigrant youth movement, the plural-marriage family movement among Mormon fundamentalist polygamists, and the #MeToo movement.
  • Provides a close look at how identity politics works by focusing on the dynamics of social recognition and social change across stigmatized groups
  • Draws on 146 in-depth interviews, as well as participant observation and textual analysis of five different social movements.


In Chapter 3, Saguy explains how the undocumented immigrant youth movement has evoked “coming out as undocumented and unafraid” to mobilize fearful constituents.  She discusses the local and state-level legislative changes for which the movement has advocated, including the federal DREAM Act – and argues that while the DREAM Act never passed, the undocumented immigrant youth movement arguably led President Obama to sign the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order in June 2012. Ultimately, she shows how the undocumented immigrant youth movement has successfully challenged cultural understandings by offering an alternative image to that of “illegal immigrants” sneaking across the border—that of educated and talented “DREAMers.”




January 15, 2020 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)