Deportations Past, Deportations Present
7 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 19, 2019
Today, the United States forcibly removes hundreds of thousands of individuals annually. However, for most of the nineteenth century, federal removal of migrants was essentially nonexistent. In Deportation: The Origins of U.S. Policy, historian Torrie Hester chronicles deportation’s uneven shift from the margins of United States law to a pillar of twenty-first century policing. This book review discusses Hester’s contribution to contemporary understandings of U.S. deportation practices, highlighting the powerful storytelling and fine-grained historical exegesis Hester uses to illustrate deportation’s life-changing impacts. Although Hester avoids questions about the troubling normative foundations on which deportation practices are built, by identifying threads that run through the whole of federal deportation history, she builds a window into the past that tells us much about our present.
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