Extract on Immigration Article of the Day: Review: Michael Kagan, The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration's Hidden Front Line

by Kit Johnson


Immprof Jennifer Chacón (Stanford) reviews the 2020 book--The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration's Hidden Front Line--written by immprof Michael Kagan (UNLV) for The Western Historical Quarterly. 54 Western Hist. Q. 160 (2023).

Here's an extract:

With his thoughtful and engaging book, The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration’s Hidden Front Line, Professor Michael Kagan offers a clear picture of what restrictive U.S. immigration policies have meant for long-time immigrant residents. The purpose of the book is “to clarify issues for Americans hungry for a better way to govern immigration, one that does not offend basic American values, one that incorporates principles of fairness, balance, and proportionality” (p. 6). On these terms, the book certainly succeeds. Kagan’s urgent stories about the lives of immigrants in his city are unlikely to sway those whose hatreds have been nourished on a steady diet of misinformation about immigrants. But the book offers plenty of information and inspiration for people interested in identifying the flaws in U.S. immigration laws and seeking meaningful solutions to them.

In this book, Professor Kagan does three important things well. First, he does an excellent job of illuminating many of the surprisingly harsh effects of contemporary immigration law. From restrictions placed on undocumented residents seeking to regularize their status, to the limits of the asylum law framework, to the capricious operations of the Secure Communities program, to the procedural deficiencies of the immigration courts, Kagan takes abstract legal concepts and programs and makes them real for the reader by introducing us to the people in his law practice, and in his neighborhood, who are contending with these realities in their everyday lives.

This post originally appeared on ImmigrationProf Blog Reprinted with permission.


About The Author


Kit Johnson is a Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.