An activist/resistance book club looking for a book about immigration.
June 26, 2018 3:05 PM   Subscribe

What is a good book to read for a group of activists who will be fighting Trump's immigration policies? Read and Resist would like to read something about immigration in July. It doesn't necessarily have to be extremely fresh or topical, since news is moving so fast. Non-fiction/fiction/memoir/graphic novels all welcome.
posted by andoatnp to Law & Government (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This is more about refugees than strictly about immigration, but I've heard rave reviews for City of Thorns.

In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the [refugee] camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:34 PM on June 26, 2018

I recommend Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario. It is so relevant now, in light of Trump's ridiculous and disgusting claim, a few days ago, that an immigrant's journey to the U.S. southern border is like "walking through Central Park."
posted by merejane at 3:41 PM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

It may be a bit orthagonal to your request, but I recommend Philip Gourevitch's We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. The stories of refugee camps are sad and illuminating, and the larger framework of othering and genocide might be a good fit for a Read and Resist group. (But God, it is tough.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:59 PM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Leavers, by Lisa Ko-- this is a novel about migration, family separation, deportation, illegal immigration and the impact all of this has on children. The book tells the story of an illegal Chinese immigrant in the US and what happens to her son when she suddenly disappears and her son is left behind. Guardian review here.
posted by frumiousb at 4:23 PM on June 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is actually quite old, as immigration goes (published 2005), but it left a remarkable impact on me.

American Gulag: Inside US Immigration Prisons

It was written by Mark Dow, the brother of David Dow, who has written some pretty great books on capital punishment, including Executed on a Technicality, which I also strongly recommend.

Luis Alberto Urrea has written some exceptional nonfiction around the border between Mexico and the US. The Devil's Highway is one of a few books that has ever given me nightmares. I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of Urrea's fiction, even though many people really love it, like The Hummingbird's Daughter.
posted by janey47 at 4:35 PM on June 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Helen Thorpe's non-fiction books Just Like Us,, about four young Mexican-American women (some documented and some not) growing up in Colorado, and more recently The Newcomers, about a year in the life of an ESL classroom, are immensely readable and moving and also contain a lot of background information and thought.
posted by huimangm at 4:50 PM on June 26, 2018

This is not about the US but it is SO worth reading. Fiction.

The Year of the Runaways

I admit I found the ending slightly... optimistic. That does not negate the power of the first 400 pages.
posted by janey47 at 8:09 PM on June 26, 2018

Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli is an excellent short book about her experiences as a volunteer translator for unaccompanied children arriving at the US border from Central America and Mexico.

Violent Borders by Reece Jones is another extremely good book about how borders are formed and policed.
posted by Lluvia at 12:49 AM on June 27, 2018

Americanah, by Chinua Achebe Adichie, is a complex and very thought provoking exploration of an immigrant experience.
posted by jojobobo at 2:14 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill.
posted by chapps at 7:25 AM on June 27, 2018

The Arrival, a beautifully illustrated graphic novel by Shaun Tan.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:47 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding The Leavers. Lisa Ko will be donating all proceeds from all book sold in July to immigrant related causes.
posted by Duffington at 11:16 AM on June 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

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