Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding US Immigration for the Twenty-First Century.

AuthorPeach, Douglas

Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding US Immigration for the Twenty-First Century by A. Naomi Paik (University of California Press, 2020)

Dr. A. Naomi Pair's scholarly contributions to the expansion of abolitionist studies began in 2010, with her work initially examining the efFects of imperial militarism on targeted communities' human rights. Her first book, Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in US Prison Camps since World War II (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), featured the voices of inhabitants of US prison camps and their various experiences resisting a system that strips from them the right to even possess rights.

In Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding US Immigration for the Twenty-First Century, Paik gives the reader an epistemological foundation for the historical US legacy of violence against immigrants. In an effort to address the emergent concerns and anxieties that Donald Trump's ascension to political power brought to her students and her community, Paik took it upon herself to trace the lineage of US anti-immigrant rhetoric to its willfully forgotten roots. In order to do this, Paik created a genealogy of four specific themes--bans, walls, raids, and sanctuary--that scaffold the book's overarching examination of historic spaces of racialized exclusion and removal. Paik's most salient concern is situating current legal atrocities within those historical political actions in the United States that were equally monstrous. The goal of this new work from Paik is to educate readers with the knowledge that they need to organize and combat these xenophobic and ethnocentric structures of oppression and domination.

In the book's first section on bans, Paik begins by highlighting the distinctions historically made between so-called desired and undesired immigrants as the key to understanding common misconceptions of the US as a nation of immigrants. Through a succinct chronological overview of exclusionary legislation and policies, Paik establishes the historically rooted discriminatory malfeasance extolled upon those considered undesired in this country, juxtaposing ideas about a nation of immigrants with the real life, commonplace, legal ramifications inflicted upon them. The author indicates that although this systematic exclusion has had racial motivations from the very beginning, race has not been the sole motive for discriminatory treatment. Throughout our history, immigrants have been subjected to and...

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