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Those Damned Immigrants

America's Hysteria over Undocumented Immigration
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Ediberto Roman
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The election of Barack Obama prompted people around the world to herald thedawning of a new, postracial era in America. Yet a scant one month afterObama's election, Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhanay, a 31-year old Ecuadorian immigrant,was ambushed by a group of white men as he walked arm and arm with his brother. Yelling anti-Latino slurs, the men beat Sucuzhanay into a coma. He died 5 dayslater. The incident is one of countless attacks-ranging from physical violence toraids on homes and workplaces to verbal abuse-that Latino/a immigrants haveconfronted for generations in America. And these attacks-physical andotherwise-are accepted by a substantial number of American citizens and electedofficials, who are virulently opposed to immigrant groups crossing the Mexicanborder. Quick to cast all Latino/a immigrants as illegal, opponents have placed undocumented workers at the center of their anti-immigrant movement, and assuch, many different types of native Spanish-speakers in this country (legal,illegal, citizen, guest), have been targeted as being responsible forincreasing crime rates, a plummeting economy, and an erosion of traditionalAmerican values and culture. In Those Damned Immigrants,Ediberto Romn takes on critics of Latina/o immigration, drawing on empiricalevidence to refute charges of links between immigration and crime, economicdownfall, and a weakening of Anglo culture. Romn utilizes governmentstatistics, economic data, historical records, and social science research toprovide a counter-narrative to what he argues is a largely one-sided publicdiscourse on Latino/a immigration.

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