Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants
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Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  14 reviews
For two decades David Bacon has documented the connections between labor, migration, and the global economy. In Illegal People he explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, migration, immigration raids, and an increasingly divided and polarized society. Arguing for a sea change in how we think, debate, and legislate about and around immigration, Baco...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Laura
I absolutely love the last line of this book: "The borders between countries should be common ground where they can come together, not lines to pull them apart." Beautiful. It captures the idea of a sense of globalization based in true human community rather than exploitation.

This is an excellent investigation into how globalization, migration, and labor all tangle together and affect policy decisions on the local, national, and international levels. There's so much in this book that I don't kn...more
Chris
Bacon's new book does a good job of exploring the ways in which neoliberalism has affected the individual lives of immigrant workers and assessing case studies of local struggles against exploitative employers and immigration authorities. He's also especially good in explaining why attempts at instituting "comprehensive" immigration reform, particularly those that include employer sanctions and guest worker programs, are inherently exploitative and should be strenuously opposed by anyone who car...more
Janie
This book is almost completely US/Mexico-centric. David Bacon is a photojournalist, and I think he should stick with the photos. I dragged myself through parts of every chapter. I was determined to finish, but my effort almost outweighed the benefit. Pros: my information and awareness of day laborers is more complete. I appreciated that he didn't try to hide his purpose and bias.

I've come up with some good questions (I think?) after reading this, but it's going to be a fight to find answer disc...more
Steven Salaita
This is a good book. Bacon offers solid analysis of how migration/immigration is connected to broader free-trade policies that fortify poverty in the southern hemisphere. His style is less theoretical and more journalistic. Worth reading if only to broaden knowledge of the economics of globalization.
Heath
Overall, this is a great book with an important story to tell, one that goes largely unreported in the mainstream media. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bacon's work as a journalist. However, the book would have worked better as a collection of essays as the structure was a bit disjointed.
My Bookshelf
I gave this to Neela for her birthday in 2008, but truth be told, it was a bit of a chipmunk gift as I wanted to read it as well. Anyway, I started reading it during the tail end of my time in LA and finished it up in New York. Interesting book, but poorly organized.
Astrid
Really ugly to read. Poor trajectory in the argument structure, but anecdotes and case studies are satisfying. A few really intense points made on the latent power of immigrant workers in the US and the nation state's concept of "illegal."
Clare
While a much needed wake up call concerning immigration in America, David Bacon’s very pro-immigrant Illegal People reads much more like a compilation of articles on the subject rather than a coherent book on the subject.
Naglerr
Written by a former Union Organizer, this progressive view of the miseries and unfair treatment of undocumented migrants gives needed insight into the need for immigration reform.
Linda
Social and political view of immigration and migration issues. Repeats itself a lot. But a good book to use to study the issues.
Ed
David Bacon stakes out his turf right away; he has been an immigrant rights activist and a trade union organizer.
David
magnificent. beautiful. everyone should read this.
Theadora Davitt-Cornyn
From Beacon Press ~ need I say more...? ;-D
Jessica Honiker
Amazing. Informative book.
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David Bacon is a writer and photojournalist based in Oakland and Berkeley, California. He is an associate editor at Pacific News Service, and writes for TruthOut, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. He has been a reporter and documentary photographer for 18 years, shooting for many national publications. He has exhibited hi...more
More about David Bacon...
The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration The Right to Stay Home: Ending Forced Migration and the Criminalization of Immigrants The Beatles' England : there are places I'll remember Right to Stay Home, The: How Us Policy Drives Mexican Migration

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