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They Take Our Jobs! and 20 Other Myths About Immigration

Aviva Chomsky, Author
Aviva Chomsky, Author . Beacon $14 (236p) ISBN 978-0-8070-4156-7
Ebook - 263 pages - 978-0-8070-4157-4
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Drawing on immigration history and left-wing economic analysis, historian and immigrants' rights activist Chomsky (Profits of Extermination ) aims to debunk the assumptions informing the current immigration debate in this well-researched if stiffly written account. She offers straightforward arguments against anti-immigrant perceptions such as the one in the book's title: the "number of jobs is not finite, it is elastic," Chomsky asserts, pointing out that in the "postindustrial economy," many manufacturing jobs have been replaced by low-paying service jobs. In response to the accusation that "immigrants don't pay taxes," Chomsky notes that textile jobs that were once a part of the "formal sector" are now informal (i.e., they do not offer benefits or collect taxes)—for which she blames the employers. As for immigrants' alleged reluctance to learn English, the author observes that as one generation becomes fluent, new Spanish speakers arrive; she defends non-English speakers by citing the waiting lists for ESL classes and explaining that immigrants with a history as a conquered people (e.g. Mexicans) more stubbornly retain their heritage. Though Chomsky presents an agile blend of the history of race and immigration in the U.S. with current events, the book's format of offering liberal polemics to anti-immigrant questions forces her into a defensive, didactic tone. (July)

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