National Insecurities

Immigrants and U.S. Deportation Policy since 1882

By Deirdre M. Moloney

328 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 13 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2834-9
    Published: February 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8261-0
    Published: May 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4065-3
    Published: May 2012

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Awards & distinctions

2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

For over a century, deportation and exclusion have defined eligibility for citizenship in the United States and, in turn, have shaped what it means to be American. In this broad analysis of policy from 1882 to present, Deirdre Moloney places current debates about immigration issues in historical context. Focusing on several ethnic groups, Moloney closely examines how gender and race led to differences in the implementation of U.S. immigration policy as well as how poverty, sexuality, health, and ideologies were regulated at the borders.

Emphasizing the perspectives of immigrants and their advocates, Moloney weaves in details from case files that illustrate the impact policy decisions had on individual lives. She explores the role of immigration policy in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and other nations, and shows how federal, state, and local agencies had often conflicting priorities and approaches to immigration control. Throughout, Moloney traces the ways that these policy debates contributed to a modern understanding of citizenship and human rights in the twentieth century and even today.

About the Author

Deirdre M. Moloney is director of fellowships advising at Princeton University and author of American Catholic Lay Groups and Transatlantic Social Reform in the Progressive Era.
For more information about Deirdre M. Moloney, visit the Author Page.


β€œHer writing is clear, and she avoids the academic jargon that so often limits the appeal of such scholarship. . . . This study should find a wide readership among scholars in many fields as well as policy makers addressing immigration issues. . . . Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”--Choice

"Focused on unraveling the complex issues of detention, deportation, and citizenship rights in the US, National Insecurities. . . . reveals the roots of anti-immigrant rage in the US."--Women's Review of Books

β€œNational Insecurities displays strong engagement with secondary literature and manifests and illuminates a great deal of original research on immigration control. . . . Graduate students and researchers interested in such matters would benefit significantly from carefully reading it.”--International Migration Review

β€œNational Insecurities makes a significant contribution to the scholarship on the early twentieth-century immigration state and deserves a large readership.”--American Historical Review

β€œA wide-ranging, informative, well-documented corrective for anyone who might still think of recent U.S. immigration history as any sort of simple or happy tale.”--Journal of Social History

""The breadth of research and clear marshalling of material make [National Insecurities] a significant addition to the field, and one that covers a huge span."--Journal of American History