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"Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of
one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the
resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian
new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive. A
major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an ambitious new
account of the least understood and most relevant aspects of the
American immigrant experience today. Based on years of research into the
lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly
textured stories of real people—working, building families, and
enriching their communities even as the political climate grows more
hostile. Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal”
challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United
States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often
confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. This revealing
narrative takes us into Southern churches (which have quietly emerged as
the only organizations open to migrants), into the fields of Florida,
onto the streets of major American cities during the historic immigrant
rights marches of 2006, and back and forth across different national
boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala. A deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will stand as an authoritative new guide to one of the most pressing issues of our time."Marie Friedmann Marquardt teaches religious studies and sociology at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. Timothy J. Steigenga is a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida. Philip J. Williams is the director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. Manuel A. Vásquez is an associate professor of religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
The New Press, Spring 2011.