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Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration

by Ann Bausum

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0332-6
Publisher: National Geographic

From the opening pages, Bausum makes no secret of her views on U.S. immigration policy. Contending that “[a]rguments for and against immigration tend to repeat in cycles,” the focus is on the implicit warning contained in five stories: the 1882 exclusion of Chinese immigrants, the 1919 deportation of anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the tragic 1939 refusal of entry for Jewish passengers of the St. Louis, the World War II detention of Japanese-American citizens and exploitation of Mexican migrant workers that began during the same era. Meticulously researched and documented, and illustrated with period photographs, this effort provides detailed information on some of the darkest episodes in U.S. immigration history and ends with a summary of current immigration issues. Very much an argument, this work does less interrogation of the consequences of a truly open border than might be wished, and it’s equally possible to posit that nativist sentiment is constant rather than cyclical. Though unevenly effective at capturing the motivating political and popular forces at work during these times, however, it is a useful resource. (timeline, resource guide, bibliography, resource notes, citations and illustration credits, index) (Nonfiction. 11 & up)