Immigration historians in the news 2018

Dec 31, 2018

Immigration, the hallmark issue of the Trump presidency, was front page news all year. Assaults on birthright citizenship, Trump’s family separation policy, a new proposed public charge rule, the asylum ban, the lowest refugee cap ever, fearmongering the migrant caravan, the tragic deaths of children in U.S. custody, and the fight to fund Trump’s wall; at every turn the cruelty of U.S. immigration policy past and present has been on full display. The news cried out for historical analysis and framing – while the scale of Trump’s brutality is overwhelming, his policies and actions have deep roots – and scholars of migration history heeded the call.

Below are just a sample of op-eds by historians and stories citing historians published this year – these may be helpful for teaching or just sharing when these issues arise again in 2019. (Please send me your clips and I’ll add them to this blog post – I pulled these together in haste! carlygoodman at gmail.) For all who spent this year teaching, thinking, advocating, talking, writing about immigration history THANK YOU.


Hidetaka Hirota: Fans of Trump’s views on immigration should remember how figures like him targeted their ancestors

Mae Ngai: Immigration’s Border-Enforcement Myth

Carly Goodman: Trump doesn’t recognize foreign-born black and brown people as American 

Paul Kramer: Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Racism Represents an American Tradition

Rick Baldoz: How Republicans set the stage for Trump’s corrosive ideas on immigration  


Arissa H. Oh and Ellen Wu: Why immigration advocates must take back the term ‘chain migration’

Carly Goodman and Marisa Gerstein Pineau: Why Donald Trump could win the immigration fight, and how immigration activists can turn the tide 

Nicholas Pruitt: Protestants and Immigration, Past and Present


Carl Lindskoog: How the Haitian refugee crisis led to the indefinite detention of immigrants

Matthew Guariglia: The real goal of Donald Trump’s MS-13 fearmongering


Mary Mendoza: The Trump administration is right about the problem at the border. But its ‘solutions’ would just make things worse.

Carly Goodman: Angry that ICE is ripping families apart? Don’t just blame Trump. Blame Clinton, Bush and Obama, too

Maria Cristina Garcia: How the American Asylum Bureaucracy Grew

Deborah S. Kang: Interview “15 Years After Its Creation, Critics Want To Abolish ICE”

Allyson Hobbs and Ana Raquel Minian: A firsthand look at the horrors of immigration detention 

Carl Lindskoog: Mistreating refugee children is, sadly, all too American

Paul Kramer: Family reunification has long been a cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy

Paul Kramer: Enemies of the State: America has always discriminated in the name of national security. It’s just gotten better at pretending it’s not.

Erika Lee and Carly Goodman: New York Times Facebook Live on immigration, race, and President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy to separate migrant children from their families


Hidetaka Hirota and Natalia Molina: It’s time to fulfill the promise of citizenship

Martha S. Jones: Birthright citizenship is a powerful weapon against racism. That’s why we must protect it.

Carly Goodman: Like Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan tried to keep out asylum seekers. Activists thwarted him

Simeon Man: Discharging immigrant soldiers is the American way. That’s the problem. 

Carly Goodman: Letters & Politics radio interview on Reagan’s asylum policies


Torrie Hester, Mary E. Mendoza, Deirdre Moloney and Mae Ngai: Now the Trump administration is trying to punish legal immigrants for being poor

Louis Hyman: The undocumented workers who built Silicon Valley 

Rebecca Brenner: How to stop President Trump’s latest attack on immigrants 


Walter D. Kamphoefner: President Trump’s in-laws benefited from chain migration. That’s a good thing.

Susan Pearson: Birth certificates have always been a weapon for white supremacists

Carly Goodman: The shadowy network shaping Trump’s anti-immigration policies 

Hidetaka Hirota featured in An Old Anti-Irish Law Is at the Heart of Trump’s Plan to Reshape Legal Immigration


Jeanne Petit: Refugees or threat? How we see migrants reveals our competing visions for America 

Grainne McEvoy: What would you do? Take an immigrant’s journey.

Alan Kraut featured in Diseases Linked to Migrant Caravan “Couldn’t Be Farther From the Truth” 

Sarah Sklaw: American policy is responsible for the migrant caravan

Arica L. Coleman: How a business-first foreign policy triggered the migration caravans 

Jaclyn Granick and Britt Tevis:  Why the Pittsburgh shooter raged about immigration before attacking a synagogue 

Kevin Caprice: What the 2018 election means for immigrants in the U.S. 

Carly Goodman: How to talk about the migrant caravan


Carly Goodman featured in When Environmentalism Meets Xenophobia

Carly Goodman: What you need to know about Trump’s asylum ban 


Christopher Petrella: What we get wrong about the “poor huddled masses”

Ana Raquel Minian: America Didn’t Always Lock Up Immigrants


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