Adam Goodman, "The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants" (Princeton UP, 2020)


Many of us know that immigrants have been deported from the United States for well over a century, but has anyone ever asked how? In The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants (Princeton University Press, 2020), author Adam Goodman brings together new archival evidence to write an expansive history of deportation from the United States that threads the late-nineteenth century through to the present.

Goodman, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino studies as well as history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, argues that the “deportation machine” operated through three main mechanisms: formal deportations, voluntary departures, and self-deportations. But contrary to mainstream assumptions about the U.S. immigration system, the overwhelming majority of deportations throughout the 1900s have not been formal proceedings in immigration court, but instead administrative processes and informal fear campaigns that pushed immigrants out of the country. Our interview with Goodman will cover how the history of deportation is linked with the development of federal power, state coercion, and activist resistance for due process. We also discuss the connections between the deportation machine and the contemporary debate on the prison-industrial complex, anti-immigrant prejudice, and demands for police reform. Far beyond the harsh realities of deportation, this book shows us how the politics of expulsion sought to define who truly belonged in America.

Jaime Sánchez, Jr. is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University and a scholar of U.S. politics and Latino studies. He is currently writing an institutional history of the Democratic National Committee and partisan coalition politics in the twentieth century. You can follow him on Twitter @Jaime_SanchezJr.

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