Mae Ngai Impossible Subjects Summary

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BOOK REVIEW: IMMIGRATION Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton, N.J. [u.a.: Princeton Univ. Press, 2004. Print. America is a nation consisting of many immigrants: it has its gates opened to the world. These immigrants transition smoothly and slowly from settlement, to assimilation then citizenship. These immigrants are first admitted lawfully as permanent residents before they naturalize to become full citizens. In her book “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America”, the historian Mae Ngai draws our attention to the history of immigration and citizenship in America. Her book examines an understudied period of immigration regulation between 1924 and 1965. It …show more content…

This book serves as the best source of answers to those interested in questions about the origin of ethnicity and race in America. Impossible subjects is divided into seven chapters, and the first two talk about the action and practices that led to restriction, exclusion and deportation. It majorly traces back experiences of four immigrant groups which included the Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and Mexican. Ngai talks of the exclusion practices which prevented Asian entry into America and full expression of their citizenship in America. Although the American sought means of educating the Asians, they still faced the exclusion policies (Mae Ngai 18). All Asians were viewed as aliens and even those who were citizens of the USA by birth were seen as foreign due to the dominant American culture (Mae Ngai 8). Unlike the Asians, Mexicans were racially eligible to citizenship in the USA because of their language and religion. However, she argues that Mexicans still faced discrimination in the fact that entry requirements such as visa fee, tax and hygiene inspection were made so difficult for them, which prompted many Mexicans to enter into the USA illegally. Tens and thousands of Mexicans later entered into America legally and illegally to seek for employment but were seen as seasonal labor and were never encouraged to pursue American

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