Elevate Difference

Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration

In Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration, Deepa Fernandes dispels the myths that immigration issues are primarily about post-9/11 homeland security by revealing their roots as economic, labor, environmental, and race issues.

Through historical analysis, interviews, and good old muckraking, Fernandes discusses how illegal immigrants do not often view themselves as lawbreakers coming to establish U.S. citizenship—though many falsely hope that hard work will result in the achievement of the American Dream—but are illegal workers crossing to serve as members of a legalized underclass of wage-earners who perform tasks critical to both the U.S. economy and the American way of life. To complicate matters, Fernandes also examines how legal immigrants to the U.S., including valid green card holders, students, contracted workers, asylum seekers, permanent residents, and military personnel are increasingly affected.

The parts of Fernandes’s book that stand out are the personal stories of various people trapped by a system the U.S. government and media claim is “protecting the homeland” and “securing the border” when the reality is quite different. For many immigrants finding work and establishing a life in the U.S. is an imperative only because of the destruction of their home-state economies by U.S. economic policy and legislation, such as NAFTA, which is inflicted upon other countries through globalization and global finance firms like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (both of which are U.S. based).

Fernandes’s rake does get bogged down in the muck towards the end, especially in her extensive and often repetitious chapter on the effect the white supremacy movement has on immigration reform. However, she does receive kudos for refusing to let the Democrats off the hook. Nor does she let individual Americans escape culpability, as it is the American lifestyle - dependent on cheap goods, foods, and services - that fuels government and corporate exploitation of immigrant wage-labor. For the individuals caught by an unjust and racist system whose tales form the core of the book, the treatment of immigrants is not just a frustrating dance with bureaucracy, but is inhumane, a reality Fernandes targets with solid investigative journalism and sensitivity.

Written by: Lacey Dunham, January 9th 2007

this review has intrigued my interest in reading this book.

undocumented people in the us are helping the united states economy. they are paying taxes (sales taxes), they are providing a supply of labor for where there is a demand, and they're helping their families abroad with remittances.

while the f$*@ing minutemen (who recruit on stormfront,a white nationalist community) are standing on the mexico-us border, terrorists attempt to enter via the canada-us border. go figure.

instead of people focusing on those immigrants who want to come here and are working hard, let's focus instead on those who are trafficked here and put in conditions against their will such as sex slaves. us citizens need to rearrange their priorities for crying out loud.