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Goodman, Adam

The Deportation Machine

America's Long History of Expelling Immigrants

Series:Politics and Society in Modern America 137


    48,95 € / $56.25 / £48.00*

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    Publication Date:
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    May 2020
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    Aims and Scope

    The unknown history of deportation and of the fear that shapes immigrants' lives

    Constant headlines about deportations, detention camps, and border walls drive urgent debates about immigration and what it means to be an American in the twenty-first century. The Deportation Machine traces the long and troubling history of the US government's systematic efforts to terrorize and expel immigrants over the past 140 years. This provocative, eye-opening book provides needed historical perspective on one of the most pressing social and political issues of our time.

    In a sweeping and engaging narrative, Adam Goodman examines how federal, state, and local officials have targeted various groups for expulsion, from Chinese and Europeans at the turn of the twentieth century to Central Americans and Muslims today. He reveals how authorities have singled out Mexicans, nine out of ten of all deportees, and removed most of them not by orders of immigration judges but through coercive administrative procedures and calculated fear campaigns. Goodman uncovers the machine's three primary mechanisms—formal deportations, "voluntary" departures, and self-deportations—and examines how public officials have used them to purge immigrants from the country and exert control over those who remain. Exposing the pervasive roots of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, The Deportation Machine introduces the politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and ordinary citizens who have pushed for and profited from expulsion.

    This revelatory book chronicles the devastating human costs of deportation and the innovative strategies people have adopted to fight against the machine and redefine belonging in ways that transcend citizenship.


    40 b/w illus. 1 table. 1 map.
    Trump’s wall; border wall; illegals; illegal immigration; Ellis Island; anti-immigration policy; Erika Lee; America for Americans; Katherine Benton-Cohen; Inventing the Immigration Problem; detention camps; Daniel Kanstroom; Deportation Nation; citizenship; immigration history; immigration policy; refugee crisis; refugees; immigration reform; American history; migrants; deportees; anti-Mexican sentiment; Islamophobia; multiculturalism; xenophobia; Italian immigrants; Jewish immigrants; Irish immigrants; Chinese immigrants; racism
    General/trade;Professional and scholarly;College/higher education;

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    Adam Goodman is assistant professor of history and Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Twitter @adamsigoodman


    "A brilliant historical analysis of the business dimensions of global labor migration and the apprehension, warehousing, and removal of immigrants deemed 'illegal' by those in authority. One of those rare studies that manages to grapple seriously and learnedly with one of the huge and pressing social issues currently facing humanity. Incisive, readable, and deeply engaging."—David G. Gutiérrez, author of Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity

    "With a sharp historical eye and a masterful command of the archival material, Goodman reveals the vast mechanisms of state power to expel unwanted populations, of which formal deportations comprise only a small portion. This superbly researched, eminently engaging book is indispensable reading for understanding the architecture of immigration enforcement today."—Cecilia Menjívar, author of Enduring Violence: Ladina Women's Lives in Guatemala

    "Among the many books trying to make sense of the current moment, this one stands out. Goodman describes a machine that, for more than a century, would go of itself, put in perpetual motion by a toxic combination of racist ideology, vigilante impunity, and bureaucratic momentum. This impressively researched and sharply argued book is essential reading."—Greg Grandin, author of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

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