Saturday, June 25, 2022

Wajahat Ali on growing up as an immigrant in America


Cover of Wajahat Ali Book

Wisconsin Public Radio interviews author and columnist Wajahat Ali talks about his book Go Back to Where You Came From.  Although critical of the contemporary racial terrain of the United States, Ali is optimistic about the future.  That outlook is much-needed in these challenging times.


June 25, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

From The Bookshelves: Open Hand, Closed Fist by Kathryn Abrams


Kathryn ("Kathy") Abrams is the Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law at Berkeley Law. She is most well known for her work on feminist jurisprudence. But, come August 2022, that will change somewhat with the release of Abrams' forthcoming book, Open Hand, Closed Fist: Practices of Undocumented Organizing in a Hostile State. Here's the pitch:

How does a group that lacks legal status organize its members to become effective political activists? In the early 2000s, Arizona's campaign of "attrition through enforcement" aimed to make life so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they would "self-deport." Undocumented activists resisted hostile legislation, registered thousands of new Latino voters, and joined a national movement to advance justice for immigrants. Drawing on five years of observation and interviews with activists in Phoenix, Arizona, Kathryn Abrams explains how the practices of storytelling, emotion cultures, and performative citizenship fueled this grassroots movement. Together these practices produced both the "open hand" (the affective bonds among participants) and the "closed fist" (the pragmatic strategies of resistance) that have allowed the movement to mobilize and sustain itself over time.

The book is available for pre-order now.


June 21, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2022

American Sociological Association International Migration Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the ASA International Migration section awards!


2022 Aristide Zolberg Distinguished Student Scholar Award    


Francisco Lara-García, "Components of Context: Respecifying the Role of Context in Migration Research.”

Jiaqi Liu, “From ‘Sea Turtles’ to ‘Grassroots Ambassadors’: The Chinese Politics of Outbound Student Migration.” 


2022 Louis Wirth Best Article Award


Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, 2021. "Discipline and Empower: The State Governance of Migrant Domestic Workers." American Sociological Review 86(6): 1043-1065. 

Hajar Yazdiha, 2021. "Toward a Du Boisian Framwork of Immigrant Incorporation: Racialized Contexts, Relational Identities, and Muslim American Collective Action." Social Problems 68(2): 300-320.   


2022 Thomas & Znaniecki Best Book Award


Rebecca Hamlin. 2021. Crossing - How We Label and React to People on the Move. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Honorable Mention:  

Emine Fidan Elcioglu. 2020.  Divided by the Wall: Progressive and Conservative Immigration Politics at the U.S. Mexico Border. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.


2022 Award for Public Sociology in International Migration 


Jennifer Lee, Columbia University

Anthony Ocampo, California State Polytechnic University 


2022 Distinguished Career Award    

Phil Kasinitz, CUNY Graduate Center


June 19, 2022 in Books, Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Book Release Event: “Nobody is Protected” by Reece Jones

Reece Jones, a political geographer and author of the recently acclaimed “White Borders”, has written another book called “Nobody Is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States.” (More information below.)

The book launch is taking place virtually at Politics and Prose, and Austin Kocher, researcher at TRAC, will host the discussion. The event will be on Tuesday, July 5, from 6:00-7:00 pm. Please register at the link below.

About this event

Nobody Is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States is the untold story of how, through a series of landmark but largely unknown decisions, the Supreme Court has dramatically curtailed the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution in service of policing borders. The Border Patrol exercises exceptional powers to conduct warrantless stops and interrogations within one hundred miles of land borders or coastlines, an area that includes nine of the ten largest cities and two thirds of the American population.

Reece Jones is a Guggenheim Fellow. He is a professor and the chair of the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawai'i. He is the author of three books, the award-winning Border Wallsand Violent Borders, as well as White Borders. He is the editor in chief of the journal Geopolitics and he lives in Honolulu with his family.

June 16, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

New Book "A Story to Save Your Life" Looks at the Role of Narrative in Asylum Cases

As an immigration researcher (and not an attorney), I was struck as many academics are by the role of narrative in immigration cases. Not only are asylum seekers in particular expected to recount in detail particular aspects of their cases in a very specific (typically chronological) order that maps on to narrow, bureaucratic ways of knowing, but they are also expected to maintain a level of narrative consistency that is unusual even among those understood to be acting in good faith. 

Sarah Bishop, professor at Baruch College in NYC, has a new book out that examines these issues. The book argues that: "Cultural differences in communication shape every stage of the asylum process, playing a major but unexamined role. Migrants fleeing persecution must reconstruct the details of their lives so governmental authorities can determine whether their experiences justify protection. However, Bishop shows, many factors influence whether an applicant is perceived as credible, from the effects of trauma on the ability to recount an experience chronologically to culturally rooted nonverbal behaviors and displays of emotion. For asylum seekers, harnessing the power of autobiographical storytelling can mean the difference between life and death."

This book will likely be of interest to researchers, attorneys, and students alike.

Learn more about the book here:


June 14, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Poetry Break: Mimesis by Fady Joudah

Fady Joudah is a "Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator." Here is his poem Mimesis, from Joudah's 2013 book Alight:


My daughter
                        wouldn’t hurt a spider
That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
She waited
Until it left of its own accord
If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking
She said that’s how others
Become refugees isn’t it?


BTW, if you're unfamiliar with the title of this poem mimesis, Merriam-Webster notes, it's a word that dates back to Ancient Greece and it means "the attempt to imitate or reproduce reality."


June 12, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Call for Papers: International Migration Review Seeking Book Review Essays

The International Migration Review will start publishing book review essays this year. These essays discuss two to five books on a common theme. They are designed to give the reviewer ample room for analytical and comparative reflections and are a vital element for synthesizing new trends and insights in migration studies. 

In addition to commissioning such review essays, IMR invites submissions of book review essays, particularly by early career or Global South scholars. 

The deadline for submitting the review essays toKatharina Natter ( is July 30, 2022. More detailed instructions for reviewers appear here, including that books reviewed should have been published in the past 2-3 years (i.e. 2020-2022).


June 11, 2022 in Books, Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

From The Bookshelves (de las estanterías): Caravaneros


One of the many books that I learned about during ILSTW22 was Caravaneros by Douglas Oviedo. Oveido is a minister and an immigration activist who traveled with a caravan of Honduran migrants in the fall of 2018. The book, which is in Spanish, describes this experience. As the publisher describes it (en español):

Durante el otoño de 2018 el hemisferio norte fue testigo de uno de los desplazamientos migratorios más notorios en las últimas décadas: la caravana hondureña que, huyendo de las condiciones adversas de su país, se encaminó desde San Pedro Sula y atravesó Centroamérica y México, junto con otras seis mil personas de diversas nacionalidades que se incorporaron a su travesía, con el firme propósito de llegar al suelo estadounidense. Esta obra testimonial de Douglas Oviedo, migrante y activista, nos presenta la perspectiva de estos caminantes desde su salida de Honduras hasta su llegada a la ciudad de Tijuana privilegiando la experiencia viva de sus protagonistas sobre las miradas periodísticas y académicas. Caravaneros es un documento de primera mano de este momento clave en la historia de las migraciones contemporáneas. Una dramatización que sólo pudo haberse escrito por un caravanero.

On of the ILSTW22 speakers, Robert Irwin, described the book as a "testimonial drama" that reads almost like a screenplay. I'm sold. Except that Amazon is currently sold out, but I added the book to my wish list and the company promises to let me know when it's back in stock.


June 8, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 5, 2022

From The Bookshelves: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo


I am an absolute sucker for YA. Queer YA? Even more of a sucker. Now, queer YA with an immigration angle? Y'all. I can't even.

Check out Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. Here's the pitch:

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root—that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.

But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.


June 5, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

How we pronounce Uvalde says a lot

Amid the tragedy of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Isabella Gomez Sarmiento from NPR weekend edition recorded a lighter story on the multiple pronunciations -- and the associated meanings -- of the town name.




The first pronunciation, "you-VAL-dee," is the anglicized pronunciation that is commonly used and accepted by locals. The second, "ooh-VAHL-deh," is closer to the Spanish pronunciation. The third, "you-VAHL-day," sounds like a middle ground between the two. Since the town is multiracial and multilingual, all three names can be heard.

Apparently, "Uvalde" had an ambiguous sound from the start. It was named in honor of Mexican governor Juan de Ugalde in 1856. Given the name misspelled its namesake, there is no obvious way to pronounce it.

The many names for Uvalde exemplify how many Spanish-origin words are anglicized and then reincorporated in Texas and other parts of the country. Ricardo Ainslie, director of the Mexico Center at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, gives as other examples the names "Del Rio," "San Marcos," "Refugio," "Los Angeles," and "San Francisco."  English was forced upon Mexican-ancestry people living in Texas during the Texas War of Independence, in place of Spanish. Spanish was imposed on indigenous people in the region as reflected in its colonial language.  For more of the fascinating history of language and its role in racializing a group, see Kirsten Silva Gruesz's forthcoming book Cotton Mather's Spanish Lessons: A Story of Language, Race, and Belonging in the Early Americas.


June 5, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

From the Bookshelves: Vol. 2 – Voice for Refuge by Zaynab Abdi


Vol. 2 – Voice for Refuge by Zaynab Abdi

Here is the publisher's blurb about the book:

"Illustrated in stark black and white, this harrowing bilingual graphic novel chronicles Zaynab’s journeys from Somalia to Yemen, and Egypt and ultimately to the United States.

`…harrowing journey was filled with sorrow and trauma yet, when she finally settled in Minnesota, she found purpose and opportunity through hard work and activism, speaking at the United Nations about girls’ education in Yemen.'”

— Kirkus starred review


June 1, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 30, 2022

From the Bookshelves: Aaliyah The Brave: Empowering Children Coping with Immigration Enforcement

41uDxEZ7SGL._SY384_BO1 204 203 200_

Paul Schmidt at Immigration Courtside clued me in to a great new children's book.   Aaliyah The Brave: Empowering Children Coping with Immigration Enforcement is described by the publisher as follows:

"When immigration officials come to Aaliyah's home and take her father, she and her family find themselves coping with a variety of emotions. As they prepare themselves for the legal proceedings in Immigration Court, Aaliyah realizes how brave she is, and the family realizes how important communication about what is happening helps to empower her.

Designed as a resource for parents, teachers, social workers, advocates, and lawyers, Aaliyah The Brave helps readers understand the impact immigration enforcement can have on children and what emotions children may feel in the aftermath."

The author is Rekha Sharma-Crawford is an immigration attorney and partner in the Kansas City law firm Sharma-Crawford Attorneys-at-Law. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Kansas School of Law.




May 30, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 28, 2022

From The Bookshelves: I Is for Immigrants by Selina Alko


Here's a book for the immprof parents of littles or clinical profs who like having books around for their clients' children to peruse: I Is for Immigrants by Selina Alko.

It's an alphabet book! Love those. A is for Ancester, Abuelita, African dance, Art, Ambition, and Aspire. B is for Backlava, Braids, Bubble Tea, Books, Bagels, and Bodega. All things worthy of celebration.

Here's the publisher's pitch:

What do African dance, samosas, and Japanese gardens have in common? They are all gifts the United States received from immigrants: the vibrant, multifaceted people who share their heritage and traditions to enrich the fabric of our daily lives. From Jewish delis to bagpipes, bodegas and Zen Buddhism, this joyful ABC journey is a celebration of immigrants: our neighbors, our friends.


May 28, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Immigrant Children Excel More than US-Born Kids

418dp8pa-hL._SX321_BO1 204 203 200_

Voice of America look at the work of economic historians Leah Boustan and Ran Abramitzky, who  are reviewing the data to compare modern-day migrants to those who came to America a century ago.

“One big surprise was how well the children of immigrants are doing, and how (children of) immigrants from nearly every sending country are more upwardly mobile than the children of the U.S.-born. And how that stays constant over 100 years, regardless of the sending country,” says Abramitzky, a professor of economics at Stanford.

 The reason many children of immigrants do better than their American-born counterparts can come down to location, said Boustan, a professor of economics at Princeton. “They're locating in very dynamic cities with a lot of good job opportunities, and that's helping set up their kids for success,” Boustan says. “We find that the children of the internal migrants — the U.S.-born families that move somewhere else — actually look a lot like the children of immigrants. And so, what's really happening is that immigrants are willing to move to good places, and a lot of U.S.-born families stay in the location where they were born.

Another less-apparent advantage for children of immigrants in low-paying jobs, is that their parents might have college degrees and professional skills honed in their home countries that they cannot apply in the U.S., but they instill a drive for education and professional success in their children.

The data suggests that the children of today’s immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico or Guatemala who grew up in relatively poor families are doing just as well as the children of Norwegian, German and Italian immigrants of the past.  Like them, they are more likely than the children of equally poor U.S.-born parents to make it into the middle class or beyond.

Leah Boustan and Ran Abramitzk's findings are laid out in their book, “Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success.


May 28, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2022

From the Bookshelves: Jenn Budd, Against the Wall (forthcoming June 2022)


From Border Patrol Agent to Immigrant Rights Activist: A Podcast with Jenn Budd

Jenn Budd's book "Against the Wall" takes an unflinching look at the systemic misogyny and racism in the Border Patrol, and overcoming a childhood of trauma and abuse.

Here is the publisher's blurb on the book:

"Jenn Budd, the only former U.S. Border Patrol agent to continually blow the whistle on this federal agency’s rampant corruption, challenges us—as individuals and as a nation—to face the consequences of our actions. Her journey offers a vital perspective on the unfolding moral crisis of our time. She also gives harrowing testimony about rape culture, white privilege, women in law enforcement, LGBTQ issues, mental illness, survival and forgiveness.

Jenn Budd says: `I wrote Against the Wall to try to heal myself from a traumatic childhood, a sexual assault I survived while in the Border Patrol academy and a serious suicide attempt in 2015. Much like our border wall, my personal walls did not keep me safe. My trauma and the trauma I caused others only began to heal when I began tearing down my personal walls and facing my own prejudices and racism. Solving racial divisions begins with each of us. I hope my memoir will prompt more citizens to face our prejudices, dismantle institutionalized racism and be willing to listen to those we’ve harmed.'”

Click the link above to listen to the podcast.


May 26, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

From The Bookshelves: Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang


Sometimes you're in the mood for an immigration story but you're not feeling nonfiction or even a novel. Enter the comic book. Superman Smashes the Klan is authored by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Gurihiru. Check out this pitch:

The year is 1946. Teenagers Roberta and Tommy Lee just moved with their parents from Chinatown to the center of Metropolis, home to the famous hero, Superman. Tommy makes friends quickly, while Roberta pines for home. Then one night, the family awakens to find their house surrounded by the Klan of the Fiery Kross! Superman leaps into action, but his exposure to a mysterious green rock has left him weak. Can Roberta and Tommy help him smash the Klan?

Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial "Clan of the Fiery Cross," New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, The Terrifics, New Super-Man) and artist Gurihiru (Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Unstoppable Wasp) bring us a personal retelling of two different immigrants finding ways to belong.

Need a song accompaniment to your comic book reading? Superman Es Ilegal, sung by Los Hermano Ortiz, is your obvious pick.

In reading about this book, I couldn't help but become intrigued by Gene Luen Yang's earlier work: American Born Chinese which he both authored and illustrated. This graphic novel intertwines the stories of three different characters, one of who is "Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school."

How'd you like that? Sunday night double feature on immigration-related graphic novels. Now go out there and READ!



May 22, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism

Stanford's Center for the Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity is hosting a timely presentation on hate crime. The lecture will be delivered by Lerone A. Martin, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, and focus on his book, The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover, which is a groundbreaking new history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The post-lecture discussion will be moderated by Jennifer Burns, Associate Professor of History.
Historian Lerone A. Martin reveals how J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI teamed up with leading white evangelicals and Catholics to make the FBI a squadron of white Christian soldiers trained to use any means necessary to bring America back to their God. This never told story shows how Hoover and white evangelicals and Catholics fundamentally transformed American religion and politics.  Not only did this partnership solidify the political norms of white evangelicalism and contribute to the political rise of white Christian nationalism, it also established religion and race as the bedrock of the modern national security state, giving shape to today’s FBI, and setting the terms for today’s domestic terrorism debates.
Here is more information on the book and event. Registration for the free in-person and online event are here.

May 19, 2022 in Books, Conferences and Call for Papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Grace Lin Newbury Award Poster

The Newbery is a beloved picture book award. On its centennial, author and illustrator Grace Lin created a memorial cover for The Hornbook's special issue. It is titled "100 Years of the Newbery Award posters" and features a young, Asian American reader and award-winning books with handpainted book covers. They are available for purchase online and through the Eric Carle museum. 100% of the artist's proceeds will be donated to I'll be picking up a few for sure!

Author Q&A is today (May 19, 2022 at 12:30pm Pacific/3:30 Eastern) online.


Grace Lin Newbury

May 19, 2022 in Books, Film & Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Violent Defense of Whiteness

The tragedy of the hate crimes this weekend in Buffalo, New York remains in the national spotlight.  The killer apparently was an adherent of the "Great Replacement Theory" positing that elites are brining immigrants to the country to replace whites.  The theory until this weekend was a staple of Fox News.  

Kathleen Belew in the New York Times insightfully observes that

"It’s not immediately obvious how the “great replacement” theory, often framed as anti-immigrant doctrine meant to preserve predominantly white societies, is connected to the shooting of Black customers and employees at a grocery store in Buffalo last weekend. . . . But the explanation for both the choice of targets and the brutality of an attack that killed 10 people can be found in the history of the theory. . . . 

The great replacement is the latest incarnation of an old idea: The belief that elites are attempting to destroy the white race by overwhelming it with nonwhite groups and thinning them out with interbreeding until white people no longer exist. This idea is not, at its core, about any single threat, be it immigrants or people of color, but rather about the white race that it purports to protect. It's important to be cautious and not too credulous when reading the writings of assailants in attacks motived by race, but we should note an important pattern: their obsession with protecting white birthrates.

For decades, white power activists have worried about their status as a majority. They see a looming demographic crisis, and talk about when their community, town or the United States will no longer be majority white. Even when demographic change slows, this fear has not abated."

Belew is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (2018).

41jD62y7PWL (1)

May 17, 2022 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

AAPI Authors: Maxine Hong Kingston and Viet Than Nguyen

Beginning with her stunning 1976 memoir The Woman WarriorMaxine Hong Kingston has forged a profound, richly imagined, and genre-defying narrative of the American experience from her vantage point as the daughter of Chinese immigrants. To mark publication of the new Library of America edition, Kingston joins Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, editor of the volume and her former student, for an intimate conversation about her life and work (Wed May 18, 6-7pm).

There will be a brief Q&A at the end of the program; you will be able to type a question and submit it to the event moderator.

Registration is required to attend this event. After registering on Eventbrite, you will receive a confirmation email from Zoom with instructions on how to join the presentation.



May 15, 2022 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)