Summer Reading: Immigration | Non-fiction

“They Take Our Jobs!” and 20 other myths about immigration

This 264 page book was written by Aviva Chomsky, daughter of renowned linguist Noam Chomsky, and published in 2007. There is also an updated version that I haven’t read yet. It was published in 2018.

You can read through Myth 1: Immigrants Take American Jobs, as well as the extensive timeline Chomsky has put together in the preview on Amazon (click on either image above to preview the books. These are NOT affiliate links).

The entire book was fascinating, and so easy to read that I finished it in a day or two. Of the 21 myths presented, I was thankful for the chapters that discussed the following:

  • Myth 4: Immigrants don’t pay taxes
  • Myth 7: The rules apply to everyone, so new immigrants need to follow them just as immigrants in the past did
  • Myth 8: The country is being overrun by illegal immigrants
  • Myth 9: The United States has a generous refugee policy
  • Myth 10: The United States is a melting pot that has always welcomed immigrants from all over the world
  • Myth 20: If people break our laws by immigrating illegally, they are criminals and should be deported

No Human Is Illegal

Published in 2019, No Human Is Illegal is written by an attorney who has represented immigrants from across the nation, and visited the camps along our border, as well as those in Melilla–a province of Spain located in Morocco in Northern Africa.

The book is divided into six sections. The first is the most difficult for the average reader to comprehend and deals with case law and court cases. The heart of the book is the next three sections:

Part II: Home gives the reader a glance at Chile during the reign of Pinochet. The author’s mother fled to the United States shortly after Pinochet’s military coup. Ironically, the country to which she fled was responsible for the coup that ended Chile’s democracy and “disappeared” thousands of people in the course of a few years, including American citizens living in Chile at that time.

Part III: The Border takes the reader to Texas and the Karnes City “Residential Center,” a detention center packed with woman and children despite the fact that it was not licensed for holding children. Here, individuals are referred to as “bodies” and addressed only by a 9-digit-number. Here, Sepúlveda has two weeks to take on cases and represent as many immigrants as he can–a load that is as emotionally draining as it is physically. He is the last hope for many immigrants who do not understand US law and who, unlike citizens, do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney.

A video from NBC attempts to explain what happens to families apprehended at the border.

Part IV: Our America shows the reader that aftermath of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Sepúlveda gives informational talks about the rights of illegal immigrants in local schools in New York as residents prepare for ICE raids. And after Trump announces the “Travel Ban,” thousands of Green Card holders and refugees are stuck at airports, their permission to be in the country snatched away while they flew over the Atlantic. Hundreds of attorneys volunteer their time to advise distraught family members who have flocked to airports in search of their loved ones.

The last two sections of the book deal with Sepúlveda’s work on the border in Melilla, the Spanish province located in Morocco, where migrants wait for their chance to enter Europe.

Click here for additional recommended readings.


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