Killing the American Dream
How Anti-Immigration Extremists are Destroying the Nation
By Pilar Marrero
(Palgrave Macmillan Trade, Hardcover, 9780230341753, 256pp.)
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
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As the US deports record numbers of illegal immigrants and local and state governments scramble to pass laws resembling dystopian police states where anyone can be questioned and neighbors are encouraged to report on one another, violent anti-immigration rhetoric is growing across the nation. Against this tide of hysteria, Pilar Marrero reveals how damaging this rise in malice toward immigrants is not only to the individuals, but to our country as a whole. Marrero explores the rise in hate groups and violence targeting the foreign-born from the 1986 Immigration Act to the increasing legislative madness of laws like Arizona’s SB1070 which allows law officers to demand documentation from any individual with “reasonable suspicion” of citizenship, essentially encouraging states and municipalities to form their own self-contained nation-states devoid of immigrants. Assessing the current status quo of immigration, Marrero reveals the economic drain these ardent anti-immigration policies have as they deplete the nation of an educated work force, undermine efforts to stabilize tax bases and social security, and turn the American Dream from a time honored hallmark of the nation into an unattainable fantasy for all immigrants of the present and future.
Pilar Marrero is editor and reporter for La Opinion, the largest and oldest Spanish language daily paper in America, winning awards from associations including New America Media, the New School, and the International Center for Journalists for her intriguing work exploring the trials and tribulations of the Latino community. With her 25 years of experience covering social and political issues, she is one of the most highly sought after commenters by international and local media for knowledgeable insight to the issues that face Latinos, appearing on such outlets as BBC World, CNN, and NPR, among others. She teaches journalism courses at UCLA-extension and lives in California.
“America’s treatment of the issue of illegal immigration is profoundly dysfunctional… Marrero makes a convincing case that America’s success in the 21st century depends on abandoning political posturing in favor of coherent national policy”
– Publishers Weekly
“Pilar Marrero…has covered the immigration issue more closely and more intimately than any other journalist in the country…She often knows more than the people in Washington about what is going on, but more importantly, how the community around the country will react to what is going on in Washington. Whenever we talk, she asks the skeptical and simple questions that her readers want asked. She channels the conversation -- and the hopes, aspirations and fears -- expressed at breakfast tables, in coffee shops and at panaderias across the U.S. She is in tune with the community and pushes me to do a better job representing that community.”
– Congressman Luis Gutierrez
"This book reminds us that the American Dream is the dream of America's immigrants. To insult, fire, jail, deport and scapegoat immigrants for every imaginable evil—even to kill them—is to extinguish not just their dream, but ours a nation. It is a story of opportunism and exploitation, of the political and moral failures of Democrats and Republicans alike, of the billions at stake in building the border wall or contracts for detention centers, the lives on the line in the deadly deserts, the echoes of old racial confrontations. Yet in spite of all, the dream isn't dead: Marrero brings us the voices of the only ones who could possibly save us from ourselves: the immigrants who bequeathed us the dream in the first place."
– Rubén Martínez, author of Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West