With last Friday’s executive order on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, along with plans to continue construction of the barrier along the US-Mexico border moving forward, the current presidential administration has brought heightened attention to immigration and American society, and with it, spurred outcry worldwide, and drawn a number of federal lawsuits.

Immigration historians from across the USA have launched #ImmigrationSyllabus, a website and educational resource to help the public understand the historical roots of today’s immigration debates; they have inspired us to follow suit.

Below is a list of UC Press suggested readings, organized in descending order from most recently published, to provide further informed, deeply researched context to the ongoing conversations around immigration reform and citizenship.

  • Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America by Roberto Gonzalez
  • The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail by Jason De Leon
  • American History Unbound: Asians and Pacific Islanders by Gary Okihiro
  • The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West by Ryan Dearinger
  • Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism by Keith David Watenpaugh
  • Abrazando el Espíritu: Bracero Families Confront the US-Mexico Border by Ana Rosas
  • Immigrant America: A Portrait, Updated, and Expanded by Alejandro Portes
  • How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts by Natalia Molina
  • Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands by Kornel Chang
  • Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality and the Law in the North American West by Nayan Shah
  • Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol by Kelly Lytle Hernandez
  • Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America by Philip Schrag
  • Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora by Sarah Gualtieri
  • Guantánamo: A Working-Class History between Empire and Revolution by Jana Lipman
  • Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, the United States, and Canada by Maria Cristina Garcia
  • Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 by Natalia Molina
  • Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present by Judy Yung
  • American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons by Mark Dow
  • Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Nayan Shah
  • Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity by David Gutierrez
  • Easily and quickly request exam and desk copies online by visiting any of the books’ pages above. If you need assistance in choosing the right texts for your course, we’d be glad to help; contact us here.

    Browse more of our history and immigration titles.

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