From Publishers Weekly
In 1994 the Clinton administration upped the neo-protectionist ante by doubling the budget for fences and trained agents along the border between Mexico and the U.S. Journalist Joseph Nevins's Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the `Illegal Alien' and the Remaking of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary explores this concerted effort to prevent illegal border crossings in the context of the mid-90s economic boom and the hundreds of thousands of legal Mexican immigrants. Examining physical, political and economic attributes of the Border culture often abstracted in postmodern literary and cultural criticism, Nevins argues that Clinton's program has done little to keep undocumented immigrants from entering but has increased the dangers for them as well as inflamed anti-immigrant tendencies in the U.S. Mike Davis's introduction will help draw attention to this astute book.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In October 1994, the Immigration and Naturalization Service began Operation Gatekeeper. Its goal was to reduce the movement of Mexicans across the U.S. border between San Diego and Tijuana. Nevins (Berkeley), who writes for the Nation, the Progressive, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications, examines this operation in the context of immigration between these two countries. A historical account of the United States-Mexico border shows that, up through recent times, the movement of peoples between the two countries was of relatively little concern. Not until the period of 1970 to the 1990s did political pressures make securing the border a pressing national issue. In turn, this pressure popularized the concept of the illegal alien. Operation Gatekeeper itself was developed by the Clinton administration to counter efforts by Gov. Pete Wilson to restrict Mexican migration into California as well as the Proposition 187 movement to deny education, health, and social services to undocumented immigrants. While the operation did defuse anti-immigrant feelings, it made the crossing much more dangerous and resulted in an increased loss of life. This work complements Peter Andreas's Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide (LJ 8/00) and Pablo Vila's Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders: Social Categories, Metaphors, and Narrative Identities on the U.S.-Mexican Frontier (Univ. of Texas, 2000). Nevins does a good job of presenting the case, but the result is a narrowly focused work that is most appropriate for academic libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.