Aliens, Illegals, Wetbacks, and Anchor Babies

Steven W. Bender

in Mea Culpa

Published by NYU Press

Published in print January 2015 | ISBN: 9781479899623
Published online September 2016 | e-ISBN: 9781479876730
Aliens, Illegals, Wetbacks, and Anchor Babies

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Chapter 3 details how we regard undocumented immigrants as menacing subhumans and accordingly imperil them through restrictive immigration laws and practices that aim to repel and intercept these interlopers. Justifications abound for the hostile treatment of undocumented immigrants specifically and of immigrants, regardless of their legal status, more generally. We tend to conflate undocumented migrant workers with criminals, drug dealers, welfare cheats, and even terrorists, thus positioning them as a danger to public safety and our economic well-being. We regard them as inassimilable threats to a Eurocentric vision of U.S. culture. We view them as taking jobs from U.S. citizens while not paying their fair share of taxes. We designate them as “illegals” for their original sin of unlawful passage or presence in the United States, and once we see them as illegal, we perceive them as inclined to commit any crimes against humanity they may happen upon. Our current and past laws and practices mirror and match the fervor of these perceived threats, but this chapter imagines what immigration policies would look like if we valued the human rights and humanity of immigrants to the United States.

Keywords: immigrants; immigration; migrant workers; subhumans

Chapter.  8385 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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