Undocumented

How Immigration Became Illegal
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.6 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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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)

What listeners say about Undocumented

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Greatly informative.

Greatly informative. I found the history covered was both helpful and fair. At times it felt like facts were just being stated and I personally had difficulty intently listening. But overall, very good read. For the history alone it’s worth it. Definitely helped for and change some of my perspectives as a white male. I’d recommend it if you’re interested in immigration in general.

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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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A must-read but not an easy read

Immigration for Central Americans is so convoluted and complicated that it seems a miracle that anyone ever makes it through the system who doesn't have deep resources. This book tries hard to help us understand why and how. The roots of our system go way back, and we should not be proud of how it has evolved. At times there just seems like too much detail, but without the detail it can't be understood. That said, you will find both passion and clarity amongst the complexity. I came away with a much deeper understanding of the problems undocumented immigrants face and why, and a renewed desire to do something about it.

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Racism and Immigration

A sobering view of the degree to which our immigration laws have been based on racism and exploitation. A must read for anyone who hopes to see a more enlightened and egalitarian approach to immigration.

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Very educational

UNDOCUMENTED is very educational and an excellent read!! I recommend this for everyone no matter your political views.

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Informative, though clearly making a statement

I came to audible to learn more about immigration issues and law for my own benefit, and to provide some background information before my internship. The author is very clearly making the case for no borders, which is interesting. The performance is pretty terrible and absolutely sleep-inducing. She speaks in a slow, whispering monotone. I zoned out through large portions without ever realizing.

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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.

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  • Harry Desi
  • 01-22-19

An aspect of North America described very well.

If you’re concerned about the state of the Western developed democracy you’re living in, particularly if you’re undocumented yourself, or know someone who is, this book will really enlighten you, and probably benefit you in other ways. This review is for the audiobook but I intend to get the text version also, for the richest informative experience. Other books on this subject, even one that doesn’t appear to sympathise with undocumented folks, are on my wish list.