White Borders is the first book to show that immigration laws in the US have always been motivated by racial exclusion and the desire to save the idea of a white America.
Racist anti-immigration policies, from the border wall to the Muslim ban, have left many Americans wondering: How did we get here? In a sweeping account, Reece Jones reveals that although the US is often mythologized as a nation of immigrants, it has a long history of immigration restrictions that are rooted in the racist fear of the “great replacement” of whites with non-white immigrants. After the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, the colonies that became the United States were based on the dual foundation of open immigration for whites from Northern Europe and racial exclusion of slaves from Africa, Native Americans, and, eventually, immigrants from other parts of the world.
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Reece Jones is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow and a professor in and the chair of the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawai‘i. He has researched immigration for over 20 years and is the author of Border Walls and Violent Borders, over 2 dozen journal articles, and 4 edited books. He is editor in chief of the journal Geopolitics and lives in Honolulu with his family.
Jones is in conversation with Brendan O’Connor, a writer and student in Geography at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Blood Red Lines: How Nativism Fuels the Right. He writes frequently for publications like The Baffler, The Nation, and Vice, and his work has also appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.
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