Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship

448 pages

August, 2008

ISBN: 9780814799925



Also available in


Rachel Ida Buff teaches History and Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

All books by Rachel Ida Buff

Punctuated by marches across the United States in the spring of 2006, immigrant rights has reemerged as a significant and highly visible political issue. Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of U.S. Citizenship brings prominent activists and scholars together to examine the emergence and significance of the contemporary immigrant rights movement. Contributors place the contemporary immigrant rights movement in historical and comparative contexts by looking at the ways immigrants and their allies have staked claims to rights in the past, and by examining movements based in different communities around the United States. Scholars explain the evolution of immigration policy, and analyze current conflicts around issues of immigrant rights; activists engaged in the current movement document the ways in which coalitions have been built among immigrants from different nations, and between immigrant and native born peoples. The essays examine the ways in which questions of immigrant rights engage broader issues of identity, including gender, race, and sexuality.


  • Impressive, provocative and smart. Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship is breathtaking in its timeliness and its broad scope.

    —Erika Lee, author of At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943

  • An urgent collection of essays by both activists and scholars that puts legislative and judicial histories into dialogue with activists' struggles to bring about social justice for immigrant communities. Its ever-present focus on social justice connects the specificity of individual historical struggles to broader political aspirations.

    —Wendy Kozol, Oberlin College

  • “In the end, the most compelling scholarship lays bare the paradoxes of the past. The best historians go beyond identifying such paradoxes to redress gaps in analysis that reshape the field, and in Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship, Buff skillfully does this.”

    The Journal of American History