Keeping Out the Other
America's reputation for open immigration has always been accompanied by a desire to remove or discourage the migration of "undesirables." But recent restrictions placed on immigrants, along with an increase in detentions and deportations, point to a more worrying trend. Immigration enforcement has become the fastest growing sector for spending over the past two decades, dwarfing the money spent on helping immigrants adjust to their new lives. Instead of finding effective ways of integrating newcomers into American society, the United States is focusing on making the process of citizenship more difficult, provoking major protests and unrest.
David C. Brotherton and Philip Kretsedemas provide a history and analysis of recent immigration enforcement in the United States, demonstrating that our current anti-immigration tendencies are not a knee-jerk reaction to the events of September 11. Rather, they have been gathering steam for decades. With contributions from social scientists, policy analysts, legal experts, community organizers, and journalists, the volume critically examines the discourse that has framed the question of immigration enforcement for the general public. It also explores the politics and practice of deportation, new forms of immigrant profiling, relevant case law, and antiterrorist operations. Some contributors couch their critiques in an appeal to constitutional law and the defense of civil liberties. Others draw on the theories of structural inequality and institutional discrimination. These diverse perspectives stimulate new ways of thinking about the issue of immigration enforcement, proving that "security" has more to do with improving legal rights, social mobility, and the well-being of all U.S. residents than keeping out the "other."