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How Anti-Immigration Extremists Are Destroying the Nation

by Pilar Marrero

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-230-34175-3
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

La Opinión senior political writer Marrero, an American citizen born in Venezuela, attempts to untangle the contemporary debate over illegal immigration.

The author provides an informed overview of the evolution of America's immigration policy from the Reagan administration to today, and she argues passionately and persuasively that, far from draining our resources and “taking” jobs from native-born Americans, illegal immigrants ultimately contribute to a more diverse, productive, competitive and prosperous America. In Marrero's view, the debate over immigration has been hijacked by anti-immigrant extremists relying on hateful rhetoric to breathe life into their floundering political careers. Rational, sober reflection on an economically and socially complicated issue has, she argues, fallen by the wayside. Though comprehensively researched and eminently sensible, this book is awkwardly written and frequently soporific. Marrero has a journalist's habit of leaching her prose of vitality by attempting to convey an evenhandedness she does not feel. Herself an immigrant, Marrero clearly has an opinion about and a stake in America's treatment of its immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Unfortunately, she goes to such lengths to avoid coming across as a rabid ideologue that she ends up looking mealy-mouthed and ineffectual instead. Though she provides several notable and outrageous examples of illegal immigrants victimized by the violent bigotry of their angry white neighbors, these stories are recited so mechanically that they barely register. Readers may sympathize with her desire to sound as rational and fair-minded as she wishes our national politicians did, but they will likely grow frustrated by her insistence on pirouetting away from real emotion. Marrero is long on glowing paeans to the immigrant spirit and legitimate grievances against willfully ignorant, shamelessly rabble-rousing politicians, but she is short on new ideas and practical solutions.

An overly cautious, platitudinous entry in the immigration debate.