Welcome the Wretched: In Defense of the "Criminal Alien"

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A powerful argument for separating immigration enforcement from the criminal legal system, by one of the nation's foremost "crimmigration" experts

In the fevered battles over immigration, Democrats and Republicans alike agree on this: that migrants who have committed a crime have no place in this country. But targeting migrants because they have committed a crime is a short-sighted appeal to nativist fear. To predicate a migrant's right to stay in the country on whether they are law-abiding and therefore deserving or "criminal" and undeserving does little to improve public safety and has an especially devastating impact on low-income migrants of color.

While César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández's first book, Migrating to Prison, focuses on the explosion of migrant detention centers over the past decades, Welcome the Wretched tackles head-on what happens when a deeply flawed and racist criminal legal system and immigration system converge to senselessly cruel effect. Drawing on everything from history to legal analyses and philosophy, García Hernández counters the fundamental assumption that criminal activity has a rightful place in immigration matters, arguing that instead of using the criminal legal system to identify people to deport, the United States should place a reimagined sense of citizenship and solidarity at the center of immigration policy.

Author: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández
Binding Type: Hardcover
Publisher: New Press
Published: 01/31/2024
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781620977798

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 10/15/2023
Booklist 11/01/2023 pg. 7

About the Author
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a professor of law at the University of Denver and an immigration lawyer. He runs the blog Crimmigration.com and regularly speaks on immigration law and policy issues. He has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and many other venues. The author of Migrating to Prison and Welcome the Wretched (both from The New Press), he lives in Denver.

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