"They Take Our Jobs!": And 20 Other Myths about Immigration

"They Take Our Jobs!": And 20 Other Myths about Immigration

"They Take Our Jobs!": And 20 Other Myths about Immigration

"They Take Our Jobs!": And 20 Other Myths about Immigration

Synopsis

Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose.

In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think- and have been thinking- about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that non-citizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U. S. history.

Excerpt

Today's immigration debate is rife with myths, stereotypes, and unquestioned assumptions. I—and we all—hear remarks such as: “Immigrants take our jobs and drive down wages.” “Why don't they learn English?” or “I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration.” After twenty years of teaching, writing, and organizing about immigration, it's clear to me that many of the arguments currently being circulated are based on serious misconceptions not only about how our society and economy function, but also about the history of immigration, the law, and the reasons for immigration.

All you have to do is read the papers or listen to the radio to notice that people seem to be extremely distraught and angry about immigration. Immigrants are blamed for a host of social ills and compared unfavorably to previous generations of immigrants. Since they are legally deprived of many of the rights that U.S. citizens enjoy, including the right to vote, elected officials and the general public can marginalize, blame, punish, and discriminate against them with little repercussion. Noncitizens make easy targets and convenient scapegoats.

A lot of our assumptions and opinions about immigra -

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