Each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are arrested, imprisoned, and deported, trapped in what leading immigrant rights activist and lawyer Alina Das calls the "deportation machine." The bulk of the arrests target people who have a criminal record so-called "criminal aliens" the majority of whose offenses are immigration-, drug-, or traffic-related. These individuals are uprooted and banished from their homes, their families, and their communities.
Through the stories of those caught in the system, Das traces the ugly history of immigration policy to explain how the U.S. constructed the idea of the "criminal alien," effectively dividing immigrants into the categories "good" and "bad," "deserving" and "undeserving." As Das argues, we need to confront the cruelty of the machine so that we can build an inclusive immigration policy premised on human dignity and break the cycle once and for all.
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About the Author
Das is the recipient of numerous awards for advocacy and teaching, including the Immigrant Defense Project Champion of Justice Award, the Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law, the New York State Youth Leadership Council Outstanding Attorney Award, the NYU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award, and the NYU Law School Podell Distinguished Teaching Award. Das is a frequent commentator on immigration law and policy for national and local media outlets. Das lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Table of Contents
1 The "Criminal Aliens" Among Us 11
2 Origins of Control 27
3 Rise of the Deportation Machine 59
4 The Pipeline 87
5 The Cage 115
6 The "Loss of All That Makes Life Worth Living" 141
7 Politics of Fear 161
8 Justice for All 187