Home to Ellis Island, New Jersey has been the first stop for many immigrant groups for well over a century. Yet in this highly diverse state, some of the most anti-immigrant policies in the nation are being tested. American suburbs are home to increasing numbers of first and second-generation immigrants who may actually be bypassing the city to settle directly into the neighborhoods that their predecessors have already begun to plant roots in—a trajectory that leads to nativist ordinances and other forms of xenophobia.
In Lady Liberty’s Shadow
examines popular white perceptions of danger represented by immigrants and their children, as well the specter that lurks at the edges of suburbs in the shape of black and Latino urban underclasses and the ever more nebulous hazard of (presumed-Islamic) terrorism that threatening to undermine “life as we know it.” Robyn Magalit Rodriguez explores the impact of anti-immigrant municipal ordinances on a range of immigrant groups living in varied suburban communities, from undocumented Latinos in predominantly white suburbs to long-established Asian immigrants in “majority-minority” suburbs. The “American Dream” that suburban life is supposed to represent is shown to rest on a racialized, segregated social order meant to be enjoyed only by whites. Although it is a case study of New Jersey, In Lady Liberty’s Shadow
offers crucial insights that can shed fresh light on the national immigration debate.
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