A provocative account of the intersection of race and immigration, showing how criminalization fuels our detention and deportation system.
Each year in the United States, 400,000 people are arrested, detained, and deported, trapped in what leading immigrant rights activist and lawyer Alina Das calls the “deportation machine.” While we’re debating border walls, travel bans, child detention, and quotas, these individuals are banished from their homes, their families, and their communities, and by a country that celebrates itself as a “nation of immigrants.”
As Das explains in her urgent book, we cannot break this pattern until we understand fully how the system works. And in this country, that means understanding how racism and criminalization intersect to doubly punish communities of color. Das traces the history of immigration policy, showing how its evolution has always been linked to racist exclusion. Combining these systems exacerbates the flaws in both — and when 1 in 3 Americans has a criminal record, millions are caught in the crosshairs.
Das weaves the history of immigration with moving narratives of those who have been caught up in the deportation machine, including Aba, a hardworking mother of four young children; Ely, a survivor of the crack epidemic in the 1980s; and Alonso, a DACA recipient.
No Justice in the Shadows offers an essential path forward: an inclusive immigration policy premised on human dignity, due process, and respect for all people.