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They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration Paperback – June 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807041564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807041567
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing on immigration history and left-wing economic analysis, historian and immigrants' rights activist Chomsky (Profits of Extermination) aims to debunk the assumptions informing the current immigration debate in this well-researched if stiffly written account. She offers straightforward arguments against anti-immigrant perceptions such as the one in the book's title: the "number of jobs is not finite, it is elastic," Chomsky asserts, pointing out that in the "postindustrial economy," many manufacturing jobs have been replaced by low-paying service jobs. In response to the accusation that "immigrants don't pay taxes," Chomsky notes that textile jobs that were once a part of the "formal sector" are now informal (i.e., they do not offer benefits or collect taxes)—for which she blames the employers. As for immigrants' alleged reluctance to learn English, the author observes that as one generation becomes fluent, new Spanish speakers arrive; she defends non-English speakers by citing the waiting lists for ESL classes and explaining that immigrants with a history as a conquered people (e.g. Mexicans) more stubbornly retain their heritage. Though Chomsky presents an agile blend of the history of race and immigration in the U.S. with current events, the book's format of offering liberal polemics to anti-immigrant questions forces her into a defensive, didactic tone. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

An indispensable guide to the current debate on immigration. If you are at all uncertain about how to deal with anti-immigrant arguments, you will find Chomsky's book a perfect response. She makes her points with clarity and uses unassailable evidence while offering constructive short-and long-term solutions.—Howard Zinn, author of You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"You've heard it all before: Immigrants take away jobs from Americans. They drive down wages, don't pay taxes and yet benefit from public services. But as Chomsky demonstrates, these are all myths, if not outright lies. She not only demolishes virtually every myth about immigrants and immigration to the U.S., she offers policymakers and activists solutions for tackling many of the issues created by globalization and an immigration policy grounded in falsehoods, and in so doing destroys the greatest myth of all: that nothing can be done."—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

"Finally, a concise and comprehensive breakdown of the most prevalent misconceptions about immigration. Avi Chomsky provides not only practical ammunition for the pundit wars, but also real thinking about the intersection of migration and the history of race and rights in the U.S. It's the definitive field guide to today's immigration debate."—Tram Nguyen, executive editor of Colorlines magazine and author of We Are All Suspects Now

"Avi Chomsky’s new book, They Take Our Jobs! is a welcome addition to the literature and tools needed to inform the current debate on immigration. In identifying more than 20 "myths" about immigration, the author brings readers through an accessible discussion that includes history, politics, economics and social analysis to challenge these myths and more. At a time when we desperately need to shift the public discourse in the U.S. and elsewhere, to include a more humane and informed perspective on the process of immigration and the lives of migrants and their families, Chomsky’s book provides us all with a much-needed sense of history and justice—and injustice—that must be included as we struggle for fair and humane immigration policies." —Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

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Customer Reviews

Aviva Chomsky does a great job skewering fourteen of the twenty myths she strives to debunk - and a so-so job of the last six.
Steven Saus
What more can I say besides, "Read this book if you want to know something real about the issue of immigration--legal or illegal."
Human Cannonball
And those social service costs don't include the common costs of libraries, parks, schools, and other taxpayer funded services.
L. M. Crane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on December 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
What a timely and important book. Aviva Chomsky takes on what she believes are the 21 most common misperceptions about immigrants. She looks at economic objections such as the claims that immigrants drain the economy, take away jobs and drive down wages; legal ones such as the claim that the U.S. already as a too-generous refugee policy; racial ones such as the claim that immigrants threaten our national identity and won't learn English; and security ones such as the claim that immigrants make us particularly susceptible to terrorist attacks.

The interesting thing about these misperceptions is that they all have a ring of plausibility, and it's to Chomsky's credit that she takes them seriously enough to examine them in detail. Moreover, her examination isn't a simplistic "no, that's wrong" kind of approach. One of the best qualities of her treatment is that she helps the reader to put claims about immigration into a broader context.

For example, Chomsky points out that while it's true that real wages for laborers are dropping in this country, it isn't because immigrants are driving them down. It's because of the last few years' general flow of wealth in the U.S. towards the top, which is leaving almost everyone except the very wealthiest in the lurch. Or what about the misperception that immigrants won't assimilate into our culture and hence are jeopardizing our national identity? Chomsky offers statistics that show that immigrants of color in fact do try to assimilate just as much as white ones, but that assimilation for them is complicated by the fact that it almost always means "downward mobility."

Chomsky's book is clearly written from a progressive viewpoint, and her conclusions, I'm sure, will anger many.
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26 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Let me state upfront a couple of things: I am one of those immigrants, I have been a 20+ years green card holder, coming over from Belgium in the mid-80s (and working to become a US citizen in the near future); and I look at things from both a pro-business perspective, and a practical perspective.

In "Take Take Our Jobs! and 20 Other Myths about Immigration" (264 pages), author Aviva Chomsky (an outspoken advocate of immigrants' rights, primarily illegal immigrants) tackles an issue that has become an emotional issue and examines the past and today. Even though I disagree with a few of the basic premises the author has about America in general (such as it being a white Anglo-saxon society bent on imposing its will on other countries), I do agree with the author's premise that (i) immigration is a good thing for the country as a whole, even if it is "illegal" in certain aspects and (ii) immigration policy has been a mess. Let's be honest: we're not going to expell 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the country. For one, they do jobs nobody else wants to do, and for another, it's completely impractical, if not impossible. The other aspect is that we desperatly need more legal immigrants from places like India and China, filling gaps that we have in the business community, as there are simply not enough US college grads for the needs we have. Let's face it, we are not primarily a manufacturing society anymore, but a service soceity. The current quotas for such immigrants are woefully inadequate, and are hurting our economy.

Our congressional leaders, make that "leaders", in Washington have done a horrible job in addressing this issue. President Bush has tried to make some sense of it, and was shut down, primarily by his own party no less!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph G. Dileo on March 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is explosive and current. The topic covered is in the news daily and quite controversial; on the one hand this is a country of immigrants. On the other hand, there are states and cultures that, while they depend on the inexpensive labor afforded by undocumented aliens, they resent the labor and accuse these people of taking away jobs from U.S. citizens. Yet, many U.S. citizens do not want to work under those conditions and for that pay; so, are they really our jobs?
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Quinn on June 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great book. I was hooked from the first page and although I got this book just to see what other people were righting on the subject, I was surprised to learn so many things other researchers don't delve into. Racism is something people like to shy away from, or when they do discuss it, they use vague and delicate terms so as not to offend anyone. Racism often cuts a little too close to home for many people, and authors usually don't wish to offend their readers. This book attacks racism with historical proof and the insight that hundreds of years worth of experience, and the paper trail to prove it can give someone, if they're willing to take the incredible amounts of time to sift through the mountains of information there is to be examined. Aviva is a thorough researcher and knows how to present her findings to make the subject both informative and moving. My eyes have been opened to a greater vocabulary needed in the conversation that is our immigration legacy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Aviva Chomsky has woven a horrifying tale of white supremacy from the founding fathers to the current congress, all backed with data, to explain the current immigration problem as well as our complicity in inequality throughout the world.
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