Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America - Updated Edition

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, Apr 27, 2014 - History - 416 pages

This book traces the origins of the "illegal alien" in American law and society, explaining why and how illegal migration became the central problem in U.S. immigration policy—a process that profoundly shaped ideas and practices about citizenship, race, and state authority in the twentieth century. Mae Ngai offers a close reading of the legal regime of restriction that commenced in the 1920s—its statutory architecture, judicial genealogies, administrative enforcement, differential treatment of European and non-European migrants, and long-term effects. She shows that immigration restriction, particularly national-origin and numerical quotas, remapped America both by creating new categories of racial difference and by emphasizing as never before the nation's contiguous land borders and their patrol.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
2
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
1

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

The various ways in which the law constructed and racialized “illegality” over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A telling example: in the mid-twentieth century, noncitizens ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Maw M. Ngai “argues that illegal immigration is not anomalous but inherent to the regime of immigration restriction. Nor is it ... Read full review

Contents

Illegal Aliens A Problem of Law and History
1
THE REGIME OF QUOTAS AND PAPERS
15
MIGRANTS AT THE MARGINS OF LAW AND NATION
91
WAR NATIONALISM ANDALIEN CITIZENSHIP
167
PLURALISM AND NATIONALISM IN POSTWORLD WAR II IMMIGRATION REFORM
225
Epilogue
265
Appendix
271
Notes
275
Archival and Other Primary Sources
357
Index
369
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Mae M. Ngai is professor of history and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies at Columbia University. Her books include The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America.

Bibliographic information