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Crossing Borders

Crossing Borders

Migration and Citizenship in the Twentieth-Century United States

Dorothee Schneider

ISBN 9780674047563

Publication date: 05/02/2011

Aspiring immigrants to the United States make many separate border crossings in their quest to become Americans—in their home towns, ports of departure, U.S. border stations, and in American neighborhoods, courthouses, and schools. In a book of remarkable breadth, Dorothee Schneider covers both the immigrants’ experience of their passage from an old society to a new one and American policymakers’ debates over admission to the United States and citizenship. Bringing together the separate histories of Irish, English, German, Italian, Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants, the book opens up a fresh view of immigrant aspirations and government responses.

Ingenuity and courage emerge repeatedly from these stories, as immigrants adapted their particular resources, especially social networks, to make migration and citizenship successful on their own terms. While officials argued over immigrants’ fitness for admission and citizenship, immigrant communities forced the government to alter the meaning of race, class, and gender as criteria for admission. Women in particular made a long transition from dependence on men to shapers of their own destinies.

Schneider aims to relate the immigrant experience as a totality across many borders. By including immigrant voices as well as U.S. policies and laws, she provides a truly transnational history that offers valuable perspectives on current debates over immigration.

Praise

  • Crossing Borders deserves a place on the growing shelf of immigration histories. Filled with fresh material and compelling stories, it is a useful supplement to more traditional accounts of American immigration politics and policymaking.

    —Tamar Jacoby, New Republic online

Author

  • Dorothee Schneider teaches in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Trade Unions and Community: The German Working Class in New York City, 1870–1900.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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