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Synopsis

One of the most contentious issues in America today is the status of immigration. American Immigration and Citizenship shows that this issue is far from new. In this book, John Vile provides context for contemporary debates on the topic through key historical documents presented alongside essays that interpret their importance for the reader. The author concludes that a highly-interconnected world presents no easy answers and offers no single immigration policy that will work for all time. The book includes a mix of laws, constitutional provisions, speeches, and judicial decisions from each period. Vile furthermore traces the interconnections between issues of citizenship and issues of immigration, indicating that public opinion and legislation has often contained contradictory strains. Although the primary focus has been on national laws and decisions, some of the readings clearly indicate the stakes that states, which are often affected disproportionately by such laws, have also had in this process.

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