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Operation Gatekeeper : The Rise of the Illegal Alien and the making of the US-Mexico Boundary
By 1994 American anti-immigration rhetoric had reached a fevered pitch, and throngs of migrants entered the U.S. nightly. In response, the INS launched 'Operation Gatekeeper', the centerpiece of the Clinton administration's unprecedented effort to 'regain control' of their borders. In Operation Gatekeeper, Joseph Nevins details the administration's dramatic overhaul of the San Diego-Tijauna border-the busiest land crossing in the world-adding miles of new fence and hundreds of trained agents. This crackdown came, paradoxically, at a time when borders were becoming increasingly irrelevant. Even as new fences were built, the border was enjoying enormous growth and integration, with nearly 300,000 workers crossing legally into the U.S. to work. However, proponents of the project successfully presented the immigrant not only as a lawbreaker, but as a threat to national sovereignty and American society. Nevins shows how this imagery resonated in a country with a history of racist anti-immigrant sentiment. Years later, Operation Gatekeeper has failed to significantly reduce unauthorized immigration, but it has undoubtedly contributed to the hardships, and sometimes death, of unauthorized border crossers-not to mention the damage to the position of Hispanics in American society. With a journalist's eye for detail, Nevins provides an immensely readable account of what has become an increasingly central concern for developed nations: keeping third world immigrants out.
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Taylor & Francis
October 31, 2001
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