Ethan BlueDec 23, 2021
The Deportation Express
A History of America Through Forced Removal
University of California Press 2021
The Deportation Express: A History of America Through Forced Removal (University of California Press, 2021) details the history of the United States' systematic expulsion of "undesirables" and immigrants, told through the lives of the passengers who travelled from around the world, only to be locked up and forced out aboard America's first deportation trains.
The United States, celebrated as a nation of immigrants and the land of the free, has developed the most extensive system of imprisonment and deportation that the world has ever known. The Deportation Express is the first history of American deportation trains: a network of prison railroad cars repurposed by the Immigration Bureau to link jails, hospitals, asylums, and workhouses across the country and allow forced removal with terrifying efficiency. With this book, historian Ethan Blue uncovers the origins of the deportation train and finds the roots of the current moment, as immigrant restriction and mass deportation once again play critical and troubling roles in contemporary politics and legislation.
Ethan Blue is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Western Australia, and has published widely on the United States and Australian penal systems.
Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London, researching security, subjectivity and mobility in the 20-21st century United States. Her current work concerns the US Passport Office's role in the Cold War. She can be reached by email or on Twitter.