Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America – Updated Edition (Politics and Society in Modern America) [Mae M. Ngai] on Mae M. Ngai. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. $ (cloth), ISBN. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR MAE M. NGAI. Series: Politics and Society .

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Oral sources, if they are present in the list of archives, remain singularly absent in the narrative, which is dominated by the study of the changing design of the nation-state based on a stricter enforcement of national sovereignty. This article possibly contains original research. Help Center Find new research papers in: The stunning militarization of the U. No eBook available Amazon. me

This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Skip to main content. This section may be too long and excessively ,ae.

July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Regardless, both narratives are deceptive in that they manipulate US immigration history for their own political gains. The reader has also a glimpse of the culture in camps, particularly on Tule Lake, the segregated camp for Japanese disloyals. Lastly, she says that she does not want to resolve the problems of immigration policy, but rather to inform the reader of how flexible legislation and public opinion are.

Impossible Subjects was written by Mae M. Indeed, in the s, historians mainly wrote on immigration beforean era of open immigration from Europe and laissez-faire, or the period post when the national quota of origins was abolished and immigration from the Third World increased 1.

See for example the very recent film Soy Ne A must read for anyone seeking to understand immigration laws, policies, and the reasons for hostility towards migrants. In part IV, she analyzes the next era in immigration policy which she suggests is embodied in the Hart-Cellar Act. Without doubt, it is the most militant part, and probably also the least analytical. This yielded the “illegal alien,” a new legal nae political subject whose inclusion in the nation was a social reality but a legal impossibility–a subject without rights and excluded from citizenship.


Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ngai graduated from Empire State College with a B. Ngai and published in by Princeton University Press. She discusses how immigration policy was affected during the years of by World War II.

Contributing to American history, legal history, and ethnic studies, Impossible Subjects is a major reconsideration of U. People do cross over illegally, but these peoples are deeply tied to local economies and the agriculture industry.


Certainly not the most pressing of the issue Ngai addresses, is the paradoxical nature of US border controls. This act imposed an immigration quota to the British colonies in the Caribbean in order to limit the immigration of Black people in the U.

Eventually, globalization triggers a push-and-pull migration from developing countries to low-wage sectors in the United Subkects, leading to new forms of illegal aliens. Selective enforcement by some states has manifested new and concerning developments in Americans long and ugly immigration history.

The switch from a positive image of the Japanese at the beginning of the century to the constitution of the Japanese enemy in the context of World War II is brilliantly analyzed.

Ngai flips the script on the notion that HC was a liberal act of American progress on immigration. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Impossible Subjects – Wikipedia

Ngai shows how international commitments and particularly the Second World War and the Cold War influenced American immigration laws and constructed a new category of citizens: June Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Liberals also remained ambivalent about immigration from the Third World, as demonstrated by the McCarran Walter Act. If a lot of Nissei second-generation Japanese, born in America and with an American citizenship renounced their American citizenship, nationalism within the Japanese population was overestimated according to Ngai — this renunciation is, according to her, an angry reaction against American politics rather than a desire for repatriation.


The depression exacerbated the conflicts surrounding jobs, there were attempts to repatriate Filipinos in mass. Wayne Collins, civil rights attorney, took their case and managed in a thirteen-year-old battle to restore the citizenship of Japanese Americans after the War, on the grounds that the Japanese reacted under condition of coercion — perhaps thereby renewing the stereotype of the Japanese weakness and pragmatism, even if this is not the subject of debate for Ngai.

Ngai implies that the equalizing and egalitarian narrative of US immigration history, and ngwi extension the idea of American exceptionalism, is a falsely ascribed—and hardly deserved—narrative.

Mae Ngai offers a close reading of the legal regime of restriction that commenced in the s–its statutory architecture, judicial genealogies, administrative enforcement, differential treatment of European and non-European migrants, and long-term effects.

However, the presence of photographs, a sign of everyday history, foreshadows a stronger combination between a top-down legal history, and a social history from the bottom up. Ngai confronts so many confounding issues that its hard to surmise which one is more egregious or most pressing than the next.

In turn, the Act solidifies the legal boundaries of the white race. In part one, Ngai begins with discussing the implications of immigration restriction in the s by particularly focusing on border patrol and immigration subjecst which she argues results in a changing discourse about race.

Ngai explains the purpose of the book saying, “immigrants are integral to the historical processes that define and redefine the nation. Sujbects, the carrot and stick policy of the Immigration and Naturalization Service INSan agency created inis analyzed through Operation Wetback, developed in by the U. The reader learns that the internment was also intended for American Germans and Italians but the latter were released the following month by the FBI.