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.
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.
List of Figures and Illustrations xi List of Tables xiii Acknowledgments xv Note on Language and Terminology xix Foreword to the New Paperback Edition xxi Introduction: Illegal Aliens: A Problem of Law and History 1 PART I: THE REGIME OF QUOTAS AND PAPERS 15 1The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 and the Reconstruction of Race in Immigration Law 21 2Deportation Policy and the Making and Unmaking of Illegal Aliens 56 PART II: MIGRANTS AT THE MARGINS OF LAW AND NATION 91 3From Colonial Subject to Undesirable Alien: Filipino Migration in the Invisible Empire 96 4Braceros, "Wetbacks," and the National Boundaries of Class 127 PART III: WAR, NATIONALISM, AND ALIEN CITIZENSHIP 167 5The World War II Internment of Japanese Americans and the Citizenship Renunciation Cases 175 6The Cold War Chinese Immigration Crisis and the Confession Cases 202 PART IV: PLURALISM AND NATIONALISM IN POST-WORLD WAR II IMMIGRATION REFORM 225 7The Liberal Critique and Reform of Immigration Policy 227 Epilogue 265 Appendix 271 Notes 275 Archival and Other Primary Sources 357 Index 369