Explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic and historical context
In this illuminating work, immigrant rights activist Aviva Chomsky shows how “illegality” and “undocumentedness” are concepts that were created to exclude and exploit. With a focus on US policy, she probes how people, especially Mexican and Central Americans, have been assigned this status—and to what ends. Blending history with human drama, Chomsky explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context. The result is a powerful testament of the complex, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of status in America.
About the Author
Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants’ rights issues for over twenty-five years. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.
Praise for Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal…
“An impassioned and well-reported case for change.... Chomsky ably lays out just how brutal life can be for the undocumented.”
—New York Times Sunday Book Review
“Undocumented adds smart, new, and provocative scholarship to the immigration debate.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
“From the first page to the last, Undocumented is to immigrant rights movement what We Charge Genocide was to the African American movement—a dossier that sets aside quibbles about whether immigrants contribute to the US economy or not, whether immigrants speak English or not and gives flesh to the slogan, 'Immigrant rights are human rights.' A clear-headed and smart book that locates the struggles of immigrants squarely in the struggles for human rights. Nothing less is to be accommodated, and much more is to be imagined.”
—Vijay Prashad, author of The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South
“Professional in her scholarship, Chomsky has written a book that will be relevant to those who do not share her position as well as to those who do.”
“Dares to call the [immigration] problem ‘manufactured,’ one that could be solved with the stroke of a pen.”