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They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration
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They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  270 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underly ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 10, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Laura by: Sarah Wald
Why do conservatives get easy arguments like, "They take our jobs!" and us liberals have to expound on the historic, economic, and social structures of the last 3 centuries to get our point across? This doesn't seem fair.
Ismael Galvan
Jan 09, 2014 Ismael Galvan rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this book and I want to say "THANK YOU AVIVA!" I'm an educated Chicano from California so it's a really hot topic here. Many people are greatly misinformed about the subject of immigration. It's not completely their fault since it is a politically charged issue. We tend to listen to those that shout loudest (ahem* Fox News). Aviva dissects the 21 most voiced accusations about immigration, which prove to be myths depending on racist conventional wisdom.

Aviva elaborates on
Mar 29, 2008 Josh rated it really liked it
As someone admittedly pretty ignorant of the ins and outs of immigration issues, I really got a lot out of this book. It examines immigration into the US as a result of structural factors (globalization, colonialism, neoliberalism) that help to explain a lot of the immigration trends today. Chomsky's account of the evolution of the relationship between race and citizenship in the US is very interesting, as well as the chapter on assimilation into racial hierarchies into the US--and how that nega ...more
Aug 10, 2008 MichelleCH rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Each chapter takes a look at different myths associated with immigration and uses data to disprove each issue. For example, in the chapter on immigrants taking American jobs, the author does a good job of showing how the job market is really elastic. The job market contrasts and expands - really with the ebb and flow of demand ~ the best point being that in times of population expansion there are more jobs and more consumers to support the economy. The influx of foreign immigrants is really a me ...more
Jan 19, 2009 Mom rated it it was ok
This book was on a reading list for women of our church.
Aviva Chomsky is now @ the top of my prayer list.
I had hoped this book would better explain why we have so many illegal people siphoning our country dry.
Instead the introduction sets a negative tone which is held throughout the book.
I am now convinced even more the illegals should be deported, supports stopped for their welfare and sustenance.
The hue and cry about the newest "native-born" children of the illegals just underscores the way t
Nov 06, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, kindle
Eye-opening. Either I slept through US history in high school or they teach a white-washed version (no pun intended...well, maybe so.)

US Policy is a farce no matter who is in office. We were built on the backs of the poor and our government has made sure throughout history that that status quo is maintained. I don't believe it's any different in 2011. Those with everything want to keep it that way and those with a little more than the folks on the bottom don't want to fight to help those below t
Lipou Laliemthavisay
Jan 02, 2011 Lipou Laliemthavisay rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book because it addressed many of the prominent misconceptions of immigration. I wished the chapter on taxes was elaborated a little more, but otherwise, I found the book great! It reminded me of my own ignorance toward the immigration topic and how much more I should have researched my thesis.
Feb 17, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing
Although the formation of a "well, what comes next?" plan seems to be an after thought in the book, I think the issues brought to light in the book are well researched. This is definitely an important book to read if you want to have intelligent conversations about immigration.
Feb 03, 2016 Daniella rated it really liked it
This answers all of your questions about the current immigration issue in non-academic writing, but still encompassing all of the complexities of the situation.
Sam Orndorff
Nov 04, 2014 Sam Orndorff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indigenous
Vital, important, powerful book. The narrative is neatly spaced into small myth-shattering chapters. Since the topic, migration, is a vast issue, the book takes a broad approach and at this it succeeds. The arguments are soaring and ethically powerful and simply stated. It is packed with information and delivered in a solid approach.

I highly doubt any Republicans will read this book, so it may not live up to its potential. I love immigrants. God bless the migrants, the field hands, the nannies,
Very well written and I was with the author 100% of the way. It was great to see all of the arguments and counter-arguments about why immigration is "bad" laid out in one place. The author does a wonderful job of illustrating the inter-connectedness of our ever more globalizing world, and the central role that the US (and other colonial forces) play in causing chain reactions that create what our contradictory politics have labeled "problems" throughout history. I appreciate her dive into race r ...more
Melanie Gnazzo
Jul 25, 2008 Melanie Gnazzo rated it really liked it
I saw Aviva Chomsky speak in April and she started with a 30 minute history of the United States from the perspective of all immigration, and ended with 30 minutes of discussing some of the most common (mis)perceptions of immigration that are discussed in all forums - news articles, TV journalism, blogs, kitchen tables...

The book has a similar format, starting with an abridged history of the US and finishing with the 20 most common arguments against immigration (of all forms) cleverly analyzed
Steev Hise
Nov 11, 2010 Steev Hise rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: border and immigration activists
Shelves: politics, own-it, border
This is an excellent book about immigration. It's from a leftist, even Marxist perspective, so you might get triggered if you fall on the opposite side of the political spectrum. But the facts and arguments can't be ignored. The book takes on a slough of different misconceptions and lies about the issue and cuts through the crap in a clear, concise, no-nonsense and straightforward manner. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants more clarity on the subject. I especially recommend it as a compan ...more
Drabick Arias
Dec 21, 2015 Drabick Arias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative read

I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to truly understand immigration in this country. It is an eye opening and well researched book!
I am currently reading this great book by Aviva Chomsky as part of my ongoing research about the immigration and about the socio-political battle around the immigration.
Jun 16, 2015 Lperthel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should be required reading for everyone. Find out why illegal immigration is amazing for our economy.
Nov 23, 2008 Phyllis rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in better understanding the history of immigration in the US.
Recommended to Phyllis by: UMW
This book addresses 20 myths we have about U.S. immigration. Coming from a Dutch family that immigrated to the U.S. in 1908 I have held an unrealistic and prejudice view of our immigration history. My family was the preferred group of immigrants, i.e. white, northern european, and wanting to work hard to fit into American society. My biggest misconception was that since we were decendents of immigrants we all start out on equal naive is that?

I'm sure this book will challenge your
Oct 26, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: immigration
Straightforward prose and generally well-argued thesis that immigration is "part of an interconnected global system that has been shaped by history and economics" and is the issues associated with immigration are better resolved through policies that work towards a more equitable global system than through aggressive border patrol or anti-immigrant laws. Occasionally the author seemed to get off on a tangent or did not connect her arguments back to the myth she intended to debunk, but more often ...more
Ann Hite
Mar 22, 2015 Ann Hite rated it it was amazing
Read this!!!
Mar 24, 2012 Lam rated it really liked it
I didn't read this from cover to cover, but I dipped into it at several places. It's dense with important information. And although I won't retain most of the facts, I'll certainly remember the premise: that most of what passes for information about immigrants is misinformation, particularly the myth that they are a drain on the economy. I was surprised to learn that a majority of undocumented immigrants, using fake IDs, pay taxes and pay into social security, which they will never get to collec ...more
Maria S
Jan 03, 2008 Maria S rated it really liked it
Very important book for anyone interested in the "immigration" issue, which if we're honest impacts all of us because it's intimately related to our economy. I only gave it four stars because I was expecting it to be more of a primer on refuting common myths, whereas it turned out to be more of a good overview of various aspects of the debate. Very quick read, good info and good summary of the situation.
Jan 01, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
This book gave a nice overview of immigration and its history in the United States. Facts presented were sometimes interesting, sometime surprising, and often infuriating (like the relationship between race and immigration policies). I feel like I have a better understanding of current issues surrounding immigration and could now have a more intelligent discussion on the topic.
Lana Jax
Mar 06, 2008 Lana Jax rated it really liked it
Any person interested in an unbiased view on the US immigration policies since the beginning of this nation should be able to learn much. there are 21 "myths" the author targets, and each one reveals more and more how our society manages to bury its head in the sand time and again when it comes to considering ourselves truly equal in the eyes of the government and as neighbors.
Jul 27, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
This book is good to get a quick introduction to immigration issues. I agree with the author that much of the current anti-immigration reaction is flawed. When millions of people routinely break a law, the law is most likely the problem. However, the author is way off base with her anti-capitalist agenda and her re-distribution of wealth ideas to solve the immigration problem.
Oct 12, 2008 Katherine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Katherine by: Heather Sullivan - YNPN Book Club
This book really brought more insight about the usual assumptions I have heard about immigration and provided great facts and historical context of how these myths were untrue. In general the book was a great easy read, but I breezed more through the second half. I was personally more attracted to the couple of personal stories he highlighted in the book.
Oct 04, 2007 msondo rated it it was amazing
As somebody who has followed the contemporary debate on US Immigration policy, most of the information in this book was not new. It was refreshing, however, to see all of it in one place and well referenced. Aviva draws several connections between historical and economic figures that bring both clarity and perspective to the topic.
Oct 13, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing
This book will provide the most useful information in my arsenal of arguments for people who spout inanities like the one in the title. Especially timely and relevant after Stephen Colbert's recent efforts (along with Arturo Rodríguez) to draw awareness to the experiences of (mostly Latino/a) farmworkers.

Aug 25, 2008 A'Llyn rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty good overview of a sometimes-contentious topic. It had a lot of historical information that provided an interesting perspective.

Its being broken into short chapters on specific topics and questions made it easy to read and to understand the arguments presented.
Mar 24, 2013 Greenfeetforlife rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-reads
Excellent! She laid out so many aspects of immigration in a very concise and easy to understand manner. I wish this was on everyone's bookshelf. I would hope that if more people understood the realities about immigration... Things would look a lot different in the way we treat immigrants today.
Oct 16, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
This book is full of information about the history of immigration and the various forms U.S. law has taken over the years. While I don't feel the author is especially good at writing persuasive essays, reading this book did give me different perspectives on many aspects of this topic.
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Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants' rights issues for over twenty-five years. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.
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“Like other discriminatory legislation in our country's history, immigration laws define and differentiate legal status on the basis of arbitrary attributes. Immigration laws create unequal rights. People who break immigration laws don't cause harm or even potential harm (unlike, for example, drunk driving, which creates the potential for harm even if no accident occurs). Rather, people who break immigration laws do things that are perfectly legal for others, but denied to them--like crossing a border or, even more commonly, simply exist.” 4 likes
“If our goal is to slow migration, then the best way to do so is to work for a more equitable global system. But slowing migration is an odd goal, if the real problem is global inequality.” 2 likes
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