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Impossible Subjects - Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,9780691124292

Impossible Subjects - Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America

by
ISBN13:

9780691124292

ISBN10:
0691124299
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
8/8/2005
Publisher(s):
Princeton Univ Pr
List Price: $30.95

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Summary

This book traces the origins of the "illegal alien" in American law and society, explaining why and how illegal migration became the central problem in U.S. immigration policy--a process that profoundly shaped ideas and practices about citizenship, race, and state authority in the twentieth century. Mae Ngai offers a close reading of the legal regime of restriction that commenced in the 1920s--its statutory architecture, judicial genealogies, administrative enforcement, differential treatment of European and non-European migrants, and long-term effects. In well-drawn historical portraits, Ngai peoples her study with the Filipinos, Mexicans, Japanese, and Chinese who comprised, variously, illegal aliens, alien citizens, colonial subjects, and imported contract workers. She shows that immigration restriction, particularly national-origin and numerical quotas, re-mapped the nation both by creating new categories of racial difference and by emphasizing as never before the nation's contiguous land borders and their patrol. This yielded the "illegal alien," a new legal and political subject whose inclusion in the nation was a social reality but a legal impossibility--a subject without rights and excluded from citizenship. Questions of fundamental legal status created new challenges for liberal democratic society and have directly informed the politics of multiculturalism and national belonging in our time. Ngai's analysis is based on extensive archival research, including previously unstudied records of the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service. Contributing to American history, legal history, and ethnic studies, Impossible Subjects is a major reconsideration of U.S. immigration in the twentieth century.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Illustrations
xi
List of Tables
xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Note on Language and Terminology xix
Introduction Illegal Aliens: A Problem of Law and History 1(14)
PART I: THE REGIME OF QUOTAS AND PAPERS
15(76)
The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 and the Reconstruction of Race in Immigration Law
21(35)
Deportation Policy and the Making and Unmaking of Illegal Aliens
56(35)
PART II: MIGRANTS AT THE MARGINS OF LAW AND NATION
91(76)
From Colonial Subject to Undesirable Alien: Filipino Migration in the Invisible Empire
96(31)
Braceros, ``Wetbacks,'' and the National Boundaries of Class
127(40)
PART III: WAR, NATIONALISM, AND ALIEN CITIZENSHIP
167(58)
The World War II Internment of Japanese Americans and the Citizenship Renunciation Cases
175(27)
The Cold War Chinese Immigration Crisis and the Confession Cases
202(23)
PART IV: PLURALISM AND NATIONALISM IN POST-WORLD WAR II IMMIGRATION REFORM
225(40)
The Liberal Critique and Reform of Immigration Policy
227(38)
Epilogue 265(6)
Appendix 271(4)
Notes 275(82)
Archival and Other Primary Sources 357(12)
Index 369


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