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The “Migrant Crisis”

Harsha Walia, Greg Grandin, Paul M. Renfro, and more.

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A bipartisan bill on U.S. border enforcement—which Joe Biden endorsed as the “toughest and fairest” set of reforms in U.S. history—recently failed in the Senate, suggesting the issue will remain a flashpoint ahead of elections this fall. This week’s reading list examines the fraught history, politics, and ethics of the border—from Harsha Walia on what talk of a “migrant crisis” gets wrong to Joseph Carens on citizenship and belonging, Mae Ngai on what a better immigration debate would look like, and Greg Grandin on American extremism.

The problem isn't new; it's the bordered logic of global apartheid itself.

Harsha Walia

Its central characteristic is hostility to universal citizenship.

G. M. Tamás

What we owe people who stay.

Joseph H. Carens

A new book shows how Trump’s family separation policy belongs to a much longer history of child-taking by the U.S. government.

Paul M. Renfro

Where profits, poverty, and immigration converge.

Tom Barry

Border control did not always dictate immigration policy.

Mae M. Ngai

Haitian migrants have been subjected to decades of brutal mistreatment by the U.S. government, much of which unfolded at Cuban detention facilities.

Jeffrey S. Kahn

The UN Convention on Refugees gives form to a humanitarian ideal, but states still judge what counts as harm and who deserves protection.

Paul Linden-Retek

East African countries host seven times more refugees than we do. Their policies look beyond their borders; so should ours.

Alexander Betts

Donald Trump says there is “a crisis of the soul” at the border. He is right, though not in the way he thinks.

Greg Grandin

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