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Those Damned Immigrants

Those Damned Immigrants: Americas Hysteria over Undocumented Immigration

Ediberto Román
With a foreword by Michael A. Olivas
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 197
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  • Book Info
    Those Damned Immigrants
    Book Description:

    "This data-driven and massively documented study replaces rhetoric with analysis, myth with fact, and apocalyptic predictions with sane and realizable proposals." - Stanley Fish, Florida International University The election of Barack Obama prompted people around the world to herald the dawning of a new, postracial era in America. Yet a scant one month after Obama's election, Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhanay, a 31-year old Ecuadorian immigrant, was ambushed by a group of white men as he walked with his brother. Yelling anti-Latino slurs, the men beat Sucuzhanay into a coma. He died 5 days later. The incident is one of countless attacks that Latino/a immigrants have confronted for generations in America. And these attacks are accepted by a substantial number of American citizens and elected officials. Quick to cast all Latino/a immigrants as illegal, opponents have placed undocumented workers at the center of their anti-immigrant movement, targeting them as being responsible for increasing crime rates, a plummeting economy, and an erosion of traditional American values and culture. In Those Damned Immigrants, Ediberto Roman takes on critics of Latina/o immigration, using government statistics, economic data, historical records, and social science research to provide a counter-narrative to what he argues is a largely one-sided public discourse on Latino/a immigration.Ediberto Romanis Professor of Law and Director of Citizenship and Immigration Initiatives at Florida International University.Michael A. Olivasis the 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.In theCitizenship and Migration in the Americasseries

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-7658-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Michael A. Olivas and William B. Bates

    Ediberto Román’sThose Damned Immigrantsis a classic in the growing literature on the vast right-wing conspiracy, including the many exploitative features of capitalism in the postmodern age that attract and depend upon contingent and undocumented immigrant labor, largely from third world nations, especially the proximate Mexico, with liminal workers so desperate that they will risk life and ruin to come toel norte, even knowing the illegality and structural economic violence they will encounter for scandalous wages (and all too often the criminal violence they will encounter in routine hate crimes). Then, instead of rewarding them with gratitude for...

    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    It does not take a stretch of the imagination to see how the above narrative (using direct quotes from the infamous 1938War of the Worldsbroadcast) could easily be tomorrow’s leading news bulletin concerning this country’s alleged immigration crisis.² Following increased domestic oversight and arguably isolationist sentiments after September 11, 2001, media,³ political,⁴ academic,⁵ and would-be academic⁶ figures have effectively caused a furor, almost to the point of panic, over the issue,⁷ using virulent attacks aimed largely against the Latino and Latina immigrant groups crossing the Mexican border.⁸ FBI reports on domestic hate crimes after 2001, for instance, indicate...

  6. 2 Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric
    (pp. 17-42)

    Rhetoric is widely known as the art of discourse, but the art in the immigration context is filled with venom. Central to the modern-day immigrant rhetoric is the so-called mass invasion at our borders.¹ Not unlike the momentary hysteria associated with theWar of the Worldsbroadcast, media, politicians, and conservative pundits all too often sound alarms of an effort to take over America,² and of undocumented immigration’s alleged horrific impact on the U.S. economy.³ Similarly alarmist claims are made about an alleged crime wave that will inevitably result from the mass migration.⁴ These claims are made with little or...

  7. 3 Empirical Data on Immigration
    (pp. 43-84)

    Perhaps no issue related to the immigration debate is touted more as fact than the so-called economic consequences of undocumented immigration. Time and time again politicians, news pundits, and the occasional academic advance arguments concerning the negative impact of undocumented immigrants on our economy. With often little more than conjecture or individualized anecdotes to support their sweeping conclusions, commentators weigh in on the presumed consequences of “illegal” immigration, including a supposed population explosion, a purported increase in crime, and—perhaps most damning—the supposed drain on our economy.

    I am not contending that all arguments to limit immigration are solely...

  8. 4 Immigration’s Effects on State and Local Economies
    (pp. 85-110)

    Though scholars have refuted claims that immigration is detrimental to the national economy, arguments about immigration’s negative effects on local and state economies carry considerably greater force.¹ Simple logic suggests that healthcare and K-12 education for undocumented immigrants and their families impose increased costs on state and local economies, at least in the short term.

    K-12 education costs have always been paid, for the most part, by state and local governments. Moreover, in the famousPlyler v. Doedecision in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “children may not be denied education on the basis of their immigration status.”²...

  9. 5 The Conflicted United States–Mexico Relationship: Invitation and Exclusion
    (pp. 111-124)

    Although the United States is often described as a “nation of immigrants,”¹ this country’s treatment of Latin American immigrants is largely a tale of inclusion and assistance on one hand, and exclusion and mistreatment on the other. As Kevin Johnson succinctly describes it,

    U.S. immigration law is famous for its cyclical, turbulent, and ambivalent nature. At times, the nation has embraced some of the most liberal immigration admission laws and policies in the world…. At other times in U.S. history, however, the nation has capitulated to the nativist impulse and embraced immigration laws and policies that, in retrospect, make us...

  10. 6 Sociological and Psychological Insights on Anti-Immigrant Bias
    (pp. 125-132)

    Anti-immigrant discourse, ranging from factually incorrect assertions to inflammatory rhetoric, has a significant impact on public perceptions and the implementation of public policy. As we have seen in chapter 2, there are well known cases in which those who make offensively antiblack or misogynistic comments face strong public condemnation. For example, in 2007 Don Imus was fired from his radio talk show after his disgusting slur against the Rutgers women’s basketball team. In 2012 there was a national outcry against Rush Limbaugh for his sexist insults of a law student, Sandra Fluke, who had testified before Congress concerning contraception. Limbaugh’s...

  11. 7 A Pragmatic Proposal for Immigration Reform
    (pp. 133-152)

    TheWar of the Worldsradio broadcast discussed in the introduction was a hoax concerning a Martian invasion. The stunt made Orson Wells famous and caused a short-term panic across the country. Nearly a hundred years later, that broadcast exemplifies the media’s ability to create and even distort reality. In many respects, the hyperbolic radio broadcast about Martian invaders parallels today’s vitriolic attacks against immigrant workers.¹ Perhaps the recent incarnations of theWar of the Worldsbroadcast will bring fame to alarmists like Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs, but history will likely portray this era as more akin to the...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 153-180)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 181-184)
    (pp. 185-186)