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Deporting Our Souls: Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy [Hardcover]

Bill Ong Hing
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 16, 2006 0521864925 978-0521864923 1
In the past three decades, images of undocumented immigrants pouring across the southern border have driven the immigration debate and policies have been implemented in response to those images. The Oklahoma City bombings and the tragic events of September 11, both of questionable relevance to immigration policy have provided further impetus to implement strategies that are anti-immigration in design and effect. This book discusses the major immigration policy areas - undocumented workers, the immigration selection system, deportation of aggravated felons, national security and immigration policy, and the integration of new Americans - and the author suggests his own proposals on how to address the policy challenges from a perspective that encourages us to consider the moral consequences of our decisions. The author also reviews some of the policies that have been put forth and ignored and suggests new policies that would be good for the country economically and socially.

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Deporting Our Souls: Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy + Defining America: Through Immigration Policy (Maping Racisms)
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Editorial Reviews


"I...agree with Professor Hing's call for reaching out to newcomers for greater civic and economic participation. When immigrants do well, we all do well. To do so is to set a path, a way forward for the nation as a whole to a new prosperity and greater opportunity for all. It's a vision of the country we can become - an America that embraces the values and aspirations of our people now and for coming generations."
From the Foreword by Senator Edward Kennedy

"This book is a poignant reminder that the immigration debate has an enormous impact on the soul of America. Hing provides badly needed insight and thoughtful analysis to a difficult debate."
Cecilia Munoz, Vice-president for policy at the National Council of La Raza.

"This book provides an important perspective, Hing reminds us, through the lens of both history and the stories of real families today, that what is at stake in the current immigration debates are the most fundamental values that have shaped us as a nation."
Karen K. Narasaki, President of the Asian American Justice Center

"Bill Hing has been on the front lines of the red-hot immigration debate for years. He brings the perspective of someone with intimate knowledge of the law, of the immigrants, and of the policy and political debate that surround both. But he steers clear of engaging the topic with the arid cost-benefit analysis of the economist, or the technical hair-splitting of the lawyer, or the calculated cynicism of the policy maker. Instead, he brings an informed and inspired moral clarity to the debate, one that is driven by named human beings seeking a better life in a nation struggling to transcend its antagonism towards newcomers so that we can live up to its finest ideals and best traditions. This book is filled with heart and soul, two qualities badly needed in current debate."
Frank Sharry, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

"Only Bill Hing -- our nation's leading thinker about immigration policy and very best immigration lawyer - could have written this astonishingly knowledgeable, refreshingly trustworthy, and deeply wise book. Deporting Our Souls guides us through our uneven immigration history, our contradictory behavior toward immigrants, our available slate of morally forceful and practically sensible approaches to current realities. While dealing directly with arguments about the economic, cultural, and social consequences of immigration, Hing challenges us to see through hysterical and misleading debate and to recognize the wisdom already to be found in how some neighborhoods, small towns, and metropolitan areas have embraced immigrants as part of our national community. Choosing the trajectory Hing endorses would be an honorable achievement - especially for the most powerful country on earth."
Gerald P. Lopez, Professor of Clinical Law, New York University Law School

"I think that Hing is ethically on the mark in this informative book."
Michael J. Kerlin, Catholic Weekly

Book Description

This book discusses the major immigration policy areas - undocumented workers, the immigration selection system, deportation of aggravated felons, national security and immigration policy, and the integration of new Americans - and the author suggests his own proposals on how to address the policy challenges from a perspective that encourages us to consider the moral consequences of our decisions.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521864925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521864923
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,730,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humanizing the Immigration Debate September 4, 2007
Two of the biggest problems in the current debate over immigration reform are the persistence and proliferation of misinformation, and the demonizing of illegal immigrants. This book by the aptly named Bill Ong Hing (if you can't see why his name is appropriate, just say it out loud quickly) is a nice corrective to these widespread problems.
First, Hing addresses the impact of undocumented workers on the economy in a way that avoids the shrill rhetoric that is often involved and addresses the data with great sobriety. Rather than focusing on any one particular study (as we all too often tend to do), he addresses the general trend of the data. In the process, he calls our attention to many neglected ways in which undocumented workers impact the economy. For example, while many people focus intently on the question of whether undocumented workers drive down wages or export earnings to other countries, few address the role of undocumented workers as consumers; Hing does. Few address the long-term contribution of undocumented workers; Hing does. Many people express concerns that undocumented workers are not paying taxes, but rather "draining" resources from the system; Hing reveals the many ways in which they contribute to the system, including, yes, paying taxes.
Hing also does an outstanding job of humanizing undocumented workers. His long experience as a lawyer dealing with immigration issues provides him with a wealth of examples to draw on. This, to me, is the most important part of the book--in it, we come to see undocumented workers not as a poor, violent class of lawbreakers (as they are all too often presented), but as people with the same desires to provide a good life for themselves and their families that we all share.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A calming voice in a storm of fear. February 2, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In a book published in October 2006: Deporting Our Souls.... Values, Morality and Immigration Policy, Bill Ong Hing makes a very strong case for a much more humane immigration policy in the United States.

Hing who is on the faculty at UC Davis Law School argues that we need a new approach to immigration: "My solution is simple." He writes. "Calm down. Welcome undocumented workers...." His is a refreshing voice in a storm of fear. He uses lots of examples showing how the US's past immigration policy has mistreated people. He also shows how applications of the same policies are effecting people today. One example he uses is how Operation Gatekeeper, which sealed the border near El Paso drove the migrants into the Arizona desert where thousands have died.

His argument for immigration is not the ethics argument used by the Radical Immigration movement, that humans have the basic right to migrate as long as they are not an undue burden on the place they settle. He argues that we should allow immigration because it is the compassionate thing to do, that we have a responsibility to others wherever they live and that immigration is good for all of us. He does not argue for, in the words of Bruce Ackerman, "an immigrant's prima facie right to demand entry into a liberal state." Hing believes that the US can make better rules for immigrants and the problem can be solved.

The book ends with these lines: ". we should fully embrace newcomers in our midst with open arms, for they are our neighbors and, in a real sense, our own collective relatives." His is a welcome sentiment in a sea of anger.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for researching immigration November 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is informative and a great tool to better understand the history and background of immigration through the eyes of a humanitarian perspective.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Immigration Panic June 14, 2007
In early June 2008, the NY Times ran an editorial entitled, "The Great American Panic," pointing out that years from now, we will look back at this immigration-enforcement era with shame. Professor Hing's book provides the substantive support for this argument. Indeed, we are shaming ourselves with policies that are evil and embarrassing. It's time for policy makers to wake up, and do the right thing.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compassion without justice September 11, 2007
This book argues for compassion instead of deportation. Justice in the sense of punishing the guilty and only the guilty is, for the author, an unattractive option. He'd prefer never punishing anyone. America has "policies that are unnecessarily harsh". P. 7

The bulk of the book is concerned with refugees, people who have come to America from another country under a refugee program. Such people are deportable if they commit a serious crime, like selling heroin or murder. Hing is a lawyer who has defended refugees in deportation hearings. He knows this part of the law well, and gives a clear if tedious list of cases that show its application in various situations.

He also covers the deportation of illegal immigrants. His opinion is clear: let's not.

Raids to round up illegal immigrants would be a "scenario [that] should not be acceptable to us as a civil society.". (p. 38)

"Serious questions of morality are raised when we understand that the United States has set up an economic and social system that attracts low income immigrants ... (p. 103)." Then he implies all who have been attracted should be allowed to stay. This is like blaming an attractive woman who has been raped for attracting the rapist.

Enforcement would be "onerous" (p. 12) so we shouldn't try.

Illegal immigrants who think the "Our" in the title "Deporting Our Souls" means the author is an illegal immigrant will be disappointed. The author lumps illegals, legals, and himself into one nice ball, then argues for compassion for "us". Cute.

This book is not a primer. Policy wonks and political junkies will enjoy it. Others will find it a slog.

I give the author credit for skillful use of emotionally charged case studies. Compassion and emotion are his strength. I also enjoyed the delicious semi-Freudian "I lift my lap beside the golden door." (p. x).

Three stars.
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