Claims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose.
In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think--and have been thinking--about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that non-citizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history.
"Chomsky's book is an indispensable guide to the current debate on immigration. If you are at all uncertain about how to deal with anti-immigrant arguments, you will find Chomsky's book a perfect response to those arguments. She makes her points with crystal-clear clarity, and unassailable evidence, while offering constructive solutions, both short-term and long-term." --Howard Zinn, author of You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
"Immigrants take away jobs from "Americans." Immigrants drive down wages. Immigrants don't pay taxes and yet benefit from public services. You've heard it all before, probably from CNN's Lou Dobbs. But as Avi Chomsky demonstrates, these are all myths, if not outright lies. She not only demolishes virtually every myth about immigrants and immigration to the U.S., she offers policy makers and activists solutions for tackling many of the issues created by globalization and an immigration policy grounded in falsehoods, and in so doing destroys the greatest myth of all: that nothing can be done." --Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
"Finally, a concise and comprehensive breakdown of the most prevalent misconceptions about immigration. Avi Chomsky provides not only practical ammunition for the pundit wars, but also real thinking about the intersection of migration with the history of race and rights in the U.S. It's the definitive field guide to today's immigration debate." --Tram Nguyen, executive editor of Colorlines magazine and author of We Are All Suspects Now
"Avi Chomsky's new book, "They Take Our Jobs " is a welcome addition to the literature and tools needed to inform the current debate on immigration. In identifying more than 20 "myths" about immigration, the author brings readers through an accessible discussion that includes history, politics, economics and social analysis to challenge these myths and more. At a time when we desperately need to shift the public discourse in the U.S. and elsewhere, to include a more humane and informed perspective on the process of immigration and the lives of migrants and their families, Chomsky's book provides us all with a much-needed sense of history and justice--and injustice--that must be included as we struggle for fair and humane immigration policies." --Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
"If ever there was a need for a pithy primer on immigration, it's now, and scholar-activist Aviva Chomsky has provided just that. She considers myths from the book's title, "immigrants don't pay taxes" and then gracefully and in plain language delivers arguments with lessons on history, law and racism. In other words, this is the book to give your xenophobicc mother-in-law at the next family barbecue." --Daisy Hernandez, ColorLines Review
"Aviva Chomsky's "They Take Our Jobs " should be mandatory reading in high schools. Cleanly organized into 21 chapters--one for each myth, as well as an extra one in there at the end--the volume serves as a quick, crystal-clear introduction to immigration issues . . . If every American--not just high schoolers, but our elected officials--read this concise, well-documented primer, we just might find ourselves overhauling our system." --FeministReview (blogspot)
"Chomsky reminds us that in the 19th century white workers in the South "clung to their status of legal and racial superiority, but the entrenched racial inequalities undermined the status of poor whites as well." Black job seekers per se did not hurt poor whites, but rather their disenfranchisement combined with racism prevented their organization into unions and political movements. Employers enjoyed aa pool of poor and easily exploitable workersssss with which to break strikes and undermine all working-class wages." --Bangor Daily News
Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State College. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants' rights issues for over twenty-five years. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.