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White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall

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The first book to show that racial exclusion was behind all of the United States’ immigration laws--from Chinese Exclusion through the Trump presidency. While many Americans believe there have always been rules about who could enter the country, the reality is that the first national immigration law was not passed until 1875, ninety-nine years after the Declaration of Indep The first book to show that racial exclusion was behind all of the United States’ immigration laws--from Chinese Exclusion through the Trump presidency. While many Americans believe there have always been rules about who could enter the country, the reality is that the first national immigration law was not passed until 1875, ninety-nine years after the Declaration of Independence. As the first non-white Chinese immigrants arrived, Congress passed laws to ban them. In each era that followed, the fear of “the great replacement” of whites with non-white immigrations drove the push for more restrictions. Although the US is often mythologized as a nation of immigrants, the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant politics by Trump in 2016 was a reversion to the ugly norm of the past. In White Borders, Jones reveals that since the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, the English Colonies that became the US were based on the dual foundation of open immigration for whites from Northern Europe and racial exclusion of slaves from Africa, Native Americans, and, eventually, immigrants from other parts of the world. He exposes the connections between the Chinese Exclusion laws of the 1880s, the “Keep America American” nativism of the 1920s, and the “Build the Wall” chants of the 2010s. Along the way, we meet a bizarre cast of characters such as John Tanton, Cordelia Scaife May, and Stephen Miller who have moved fringe ideas about “white genocide” and “race suicide” into mainstream political discourse. This exposé proves that while immigration crackdowns are justified as protecting American jobs and workers, they have always been about saving the fleeting idea of a white America.


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The first book to show that racial exclusion was behind all of the United States’ immigration laws--from Chinese Exclusion through the Trump presidency. While many Americans believe there have always been rules about who could enter the country, the reality is that the first national immigration law was not passed until 1875, ninety-nine years after the Declaration of Indep The first book to show that racial exclusion was behind all of the United States’ immigration laws--from Chinese Exclusion through the Trump presidency. While many Americans believe there have always been rules about who could enter the country, the reality is that the first national immigration law was not passed until 1875, ninety-nine years after the Declaration of Independence. As the first non-white Chinese immigrants arrived, Congress passed laws to ban them. In each era that followed, the fear of “the great replacement” of whites with non-white immigrations drove the push for more restrictions. Although the US is often mythologized as a nation of immigrants, the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant politics by Trump in 2016 was a reversion to the ugly norm of the past. In White Borders, Jones reveals that since the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, the English Colonies that became the US were based on the dual foundation of open immigration for whites from Northern Europe and racial exclusion of slaves from Africa, Native Americans, and, eventually, immigrants from other parts of the world. He exposes the connections between the Chinese Exclusion laws of the 1880s, the “Keep America American” nativism of the 1920s, and the “Build the Wall” chants of the 2010s. Along the way, we meet a bizarre cast of characters such as John Tanton, Cordelia Scaife May, and Stephen Miller who have moved fringe ideas about “white genocide” and “race suicide” into mainstream political discourse. This exposé proves that while immigration crackdowns are justified as protecting American jobs and workers, they have always been about saving the fleeting idea of a white America.

41 review for White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Giveaway Win! Jesus! This was a bleak read. White Borders is a well researched and concise history of US immigration restrictions. Starting at the founding of America all the way up to our current immigration process. And it's a disturbing read. I try to stay up to date on the immigration issue but I was shocked by just how horrific this country has always been in matters of immigration. Here are just a few things this book covered: 1) The ethnic cleansing experienced by Chinese immigrants in 1800 Giveaway Win! Jesus! This was a bleak read. White Borders is a well researched and concise history of US immigration restrictions. Starting at the founding of America all the way up to our current immigration process. And it's a disturbing read. I try to stay up to date on the immigration issue but I was shocked by just how horrific this country has always been in matters of immigration. Here are just a few things this book covered: 1) The ethnic cleansing experienced by Chinese immigrants in 1800's 2) The ever changing definition of white a) In 1897 Mexicans were white b) From 1910 to 1920 South Asians were white c) In 1905 Armenians were white....sometimes d) From 1909, 1910 and 1915 Syrians were white. In 1913 and 1914 Syrians were not white. 3) The Nazi's based their early persecutions of the Jewish community on US immigration laws 4) The relationship between environmentalists and white supremacy. 5) How easily the media picks up white nationalists talking points and mainstreams them. White Borders is a short book but it covers a lot of ground. I almost wish it was longer even though I was exhausted when I finished this book. This book should be on high school curriculums because this book covers way more than I ever learned in school. Recommended to everyone!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mickie O'Kerns

    Exceptionally well researched book about the intersection of white supremacy and anti-immigrationists. Also very readable for a fact-based historical text. Very eye-opening and highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sivylay

  6. 5 out of 5

    Derek Barthel

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    Crystal

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan Melnick

  9. 5 out of 5

    The Blazing Sword of Calaglia

  10. 4 out of 5

    Celia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christine Piepmeier

  12. 4 out of 5

    Reece Jones

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    Priyanka

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dante

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    Ashe Dryden

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

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    Yannick M

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    Michael

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    Diana

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    Rebecca James

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    Rachel Brand

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    Gwen

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    Tanya

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    Kelsey

  28. 5 out of 5

    lala

  29. 4 out of 5

    Calle Caí 楷

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

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    Hana Dewey

  32. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

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    Alec

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    Mike

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    Schutzforthemoon

  36. 5 out of 5

    Marian Gray

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    Cindy

  38. 5 out of 5

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  39. 4 out of 5

    Connie Mah

  40. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie

  41. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

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