Illegal, Alien, or Immigrant: The Politics of Immigration Reform

By Lina Newton | Go to book overview

5
Problem Mexicans
Race, Nationalism, and Their Limits in
Contemporary Immigration Policy

As elected officials, members of Congress are conscious of the values and traditions of the public they serve, as well as of the society of which they themselves are a product. While it is no longer politically acceptable for immigration policies to single out groups for exclusion based on race or national origin, legislators continue to distinguish between the “right” and “wrong” kinds of immigrants, accomplishing these distinctions through rhetorical devices that forge distinctions between “us” and “them.” This may on its face seem unremarkable since, at its essence, immigration policy is set up to administer the relationship between foreigners and the state. However, discourse that conveys who the problem foreigners are assists in assuring the public that government has narrowed the field and identified target groups needing control and restriction. Whether the policies discussed accomplish their stated goals is immaterial: the public spectacle of immigration control suggests that government attends to sources of economic insecurity and social instability. And yet, the process must be viewed as more than theater, because the emotive appeal rests in the actual accomplishment of social divisions that distribute or deny real benefits to groups and individuals.1

The previous chapters focused on the instrumental nature of social constructions—the representation of target populations in the service of policy choice and policy justification. What follows is a deeper investigation of the language employed to distinguish immigrants for the purposes of public assurance that policies are just and fair in their allocation of benefits and burdens. While it may seem that discourse about immigrants in both policy periods employed “neutral” or descriptive terms (illegal, legal, criminal, guest-worker, etc.), it is easy to uncover the many ways in which these constructions are not neutral at all. The language of deserving and undeserving captures a host of other social divisions, and

-137-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Illegal, Alien, or Immigrant: The Politics of Immigration Reform
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 227

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.