Getting Immigration Right focuses on what is arguably the most important aspect of the current immigration debate: how best to understand and resolve illegal immigration from Mexico. The scale and character of illegal immigration is only one facet of the “immigration problem” currently before Congress and the president, but it is its most contentious and visible face. It is also the one part of the contemporary immigration story that attracts the most intense opposition, the most widely disseminated mythologies, and the most powerfully advocated solutions. What to do about illegal immigration from Mexico is a major political question of our time.
The book’s wide-ranging and timely discussion includes legal and non-Mexican immigration. It sets the context of immigration before exploring the job experiences of illegal immigrants and their quest for the American dream. The contributors then focus on the causes and consequences—economic and social—of immigration, both legal and otherwise, and vividly describe the Latino experiences of illegality, including crossing the border and living in fear of deportation. In addition, the reform of immigration law is discussed from three distinct viewpoints: one conservative, one liberal, and one libertarian. The volume closes with its editors’ own proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. With a foreword by Alejandro Portes, a professor of sociology at Princeton University and author of Immigrant America: A Portrait.
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)
David Coates holds the Worrell Chair in Anglo-American Studies at Wake Forest University. He previously held chairs in political economy and labor studies at the universities of Leeds and Manchester in the United Kingdom. His latest book, which includes a survey of the current immigration debates, is A Liberal Tool Kit: Progressive Responses to Conservative Arguments (Praeger Publishers, 2007). He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Peter Siavelis is the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Fellow and an associate professor of political science at Wake Forest University. He has been a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Chile. He is the author of The President and Congress in Post-authoritarian Chile: Institutional Constraints to Democratic Consolidation (Penn State Press, 2000). He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
“[Anyone] interested in Mexican immigration to this country will find this an outstanding collection of essays considering past and future policies."
The Midwest Book Review, November 2009
"Coates and Siavelis bring together a group of commentators not often found seated at the same table or collected in the same volume. The authors of these chapters speak to each other across the ideological divide on immigration policy and they bring to the discussion a most useful range of experience and expertise which includes historical perspectives on migration and the nativist response it has often called forth, as well as knowledge of the national and international economic context in which immigration takes place. The policy proposals that flow from this discussion should interest everyone concerned with 'fixing' the broken system currently in place."
Judith Adler Hellman, professor of social science, York University, Toronto, and author of The World of Mexican Migrants: The Rock and the Hard Place
“Coates and Siavelis have brought together a collection of intelligent and provocative essays from many of the top experts on Mexico-U.S. immigration. For an issue that tends to generate more heat than light, this book shines brightly. It is a must-read for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the immigration debate regarding Mexican migration to the United States. Collectively, the essays point to the urgent need to modernize our policies in a way that moves beyond simplistic slogans to confronting complex realities.”
Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice