Stirring the Melting Pot: A Recipe for Immigrant Acceptance

By Scaperlanda, Michael | Texas Law Review, April 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Stirring the Melting Pot: A Recipe for Immigrant Acceptance


Scaperlanda, Michael, Texas Law Review


Stirring the Melting Pot: A Recipe for Immigrant Acceptance THE IMMIGRATION CRUCIBLE: TRANSFORMING RACE, NATION, AND THE LIMITS OF THE LAW. By Philip Kretsedemas. New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. 232 pages. $28.00.

The interstate highway "made distant what had been close, and close what had been distant."1

In The Immigration Crucible, Philip Kretsedemas hopes to break the "habit of developing arguments that are simply reactions to the 'other side'"2 and desires to "map a political, cultural, and economic terrain that . . . provides some new insights into why so many noncitizens are in a difficult situation"3 while drawing "attention to the limitations of the mainstream proimmigration position."4 Toward this end, he seeks "an engagement across lines of difference that has the potential to transform the perspectives of all parties . . . involved in the encounter."5 In this spirit, I offer my critique of this challenging book. I share Kretsedemas's sentiment-if my Review "is successful in getting people to think about U.S. immigration policy in a new way, . . . I will be more than pleased. Either way, I have put forward my best effort."6

Kretsedemas ultimately fails in his task because as much as he tries to escape-to transcend-liberal anthropology with its peculiar notions of the state and the state's relationship to immigrants and other denizens, he remains within liberalism's orbit, pulled in by its unseen gravitational forces. Instead of providing "a paradigm shift" that leads to "an entirely new understanding,"7 he offers a particular view of the terrain from a worn and aging neoliberal spacecraft.

This Review will proceed in five stages. First, I will provide a brief summary of the book. Second, I will offer three critiques: (a) Kretsedemas's creation of a stereotyped "Other," which he marginalizes and stigmatizes, undermines his call to transformational dialogue; (b) while decrying both Executive discretion and state control over immigration, he fails to recognize and therefore leaves unresolved the question of how immigration policy ought to be adopted and implemented; and (c) although he desires a "stronger ethical foundation" for the pro-immigration discourse, he offers none.8 Finally, I will offer a brief response to the central theme of his book, which is a desire "to address the problem of immigrant marginality."9

I. The Book: A Summary

Even though Jim Crow is now a closed chapter in U.S. legal history, there is still a romantic attachment within the popular culture to images of national community that stem from this era.10

Kretsedemas believes that images of national community formed in the Jim Crow era drive immigration policy, fostering structures and institutions that create immigrant alienation. He hopes his book project will serve as a vehicle for "transforming the political culture to make it more inclusive of new immigrant populations."11 To succeed, his project "requires a critical race analysis . . . that is not just oriented toward fixing racial inequalities" but also displays "a willingness to examine and reconstruct popular ideas about whiteness and the cultural difference of immigrants."12

Three key factors enter into Kretsedemas's equation: the marginal immigrant, the state with its broad discretionary powers, and the acquiescence of a broad spectrum of intellectuals-"liberal, conservative, and Marxist"-in the status quo.13 The introductory chapter provides a broad overview of his case stating that both pro- and anti-immigrant forces have worked to expand the "extralegal (or marginally legal) discretionary powers" of the state, which sometimes favor "liberalization of migrant flows" and at other times serve "to control racial minority populations."14

Rejecting-or at least deemphasizing-formal "legal categories . . . defined by the state,"15 Kretsedemas uses Chapter Two to reimagine many noncitizens, many nonimmigrants, the undocumented,16 and even some immigrants,17 as "de facto stateless. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

This article 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 article

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

Cited article

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 article

Stirring the Melting Pot: A Recipe for Immigrant Acceptance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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

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.

    Author Advanced search

    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.