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Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal



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The Central American child migrant "crisis" of the summer of 2014 was shocking to Americans. On the surface, the stories of parent-child separation, of vulnerable children, of violence, seemed to inspire either a visceral response of pity or sympathy (we should help these poor children!), or a sense of frustration, victimization, and resentment (we have enough problems here, why do we have to help everyone in the world?). But in a deeper sense, Dr. Aviva Chomsky would like to argue, the situation was shocking because it jarringly challenged narratives and categories about immigration that have been instilled in us since elementary school. Even immigrants quickly absorb these narratives. In this presentation, Dr. Chomsky would like to identify these narratives and challenge them, and explain how they have helped to blind us to the ways that U.S. immigration law has functioned in the past and continues to function today. Her UNM talk is sponsored by the American Studies Research Cluster in Global Inequalities and Solidarities.

Dr. Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. She has authored several books including Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal.


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Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal