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Publisher's Summary

Explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context

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.

©2017 Aviva Chomsky (P)2017 Beacon Press

Critic Reviews

"An impassioned and well-reported case for change...Chomsky ably lays out just how brutal life can be for the undocumented." ( New York Times Sunday Book Review)
" Undocumented adds smart, new, and provocative scholarship to the immigration debate." ( Los Angeles Review of Books)
"From the first page to the last, Undocumented is to immigrant rights movement what We Charge Genocide was to the African American movement - a dossier that sets aside quibbles about whether immigrants contribute to the US economy or not, whether immigrants speak English or not and gives flesh to the slogan, 'Immigrant rights are human rights.' A clear-headed and smart book that locates the struggles of immigrants squarely in the struggles for human rights. Nothing less is to be accommodated, and much more is to be imagined." (Vijay Prashad, author of The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South)

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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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Narration can kill a book

This is a really important topic but the narration felt so robotic that I keep tuning out. Wish I had the time to read it in print.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful