Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States

By in Emigration & Immigration on February 6, 2013

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Although America is unquestionably a nation of immigrants, its immigration policies have inspired more questions than consensus on who should be admitted and what the path to citizenship should be. In Americans in Waiting, Hiroshi Motomura looks to a forgotten part of our past to show how, for over 150 years, immigration was assumed to be a transition to citizenship, with immigrants essentially being treated as future citizens–Americans in waiting. Challenging current conceptions, the author deftly uncovers how this view, once so central to law and policy, has all but vanished. Motomura explains how America could create a more unified society by recovering this lost history and by giving immigrants more, but at the same time asking more of them. A timely, panoramic chronicle of immigration and citizenship in the United States, Americans in Waiting offers new ideas and a fresh perspective on current debates.

2 thoughts on “Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States

  1. 1
    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Americans in Waiting: Legal Immigrants on a Path to Naturalization, July 11, 2008
    By 
    Jennifer (Syracuse, NY) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

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    Americans in Waiting blends a thorough analysis of the turbulent history of U.S. citizenship and immigration with a normative legal theory of what ought to be done. Motomuro, a leading immigration law scholar, evades overly obfuscating legal jargon in lieu of style that can be enjoyed by any reader from all degrees of background knowledge.

    Motomuro breaks legal immigration down into three views: immigration as contract, immigration as affiliation, and immigrants in transition, or what he otherwise terms as “Americans in Waiting.” The third category is what Motomuro is most concerned with, hence the title of the book. Americans in Waiting are legal immigrants who are on a path to citizenship, but who have not or cannot naturalize yet (i.e: either they have not met the legal naturalization waiting period of 3-5 years for Legal Permanent Residents, administrative backlog, etc). While Motomuro argues that rights should be extended to this status of persons, such as voting, access to public benefits, and family reunification rights, he still believes there is reason for Americans in Waiting to remain a separate category from full-citizens. One categorical difference he believes should remain in tact is deportability for criminal acts. By recapturing key court cases, Motomuro traces the development of alienage law as we know it today and he also provides good reason for why his articulation is desirable for America and its future as a people.

    I have been studying U.S. immigration and citizenship quite thoroughly for about a year now, but it was not until reading this book that so many key terms and distinctions between different statuses became so coherent. Motomuro sheds much clarity and insight onto a highly complex and vital social and political issue. Excellent all around!

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  2. Regina Vitolo "CATALOG NUT"
    2
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    ebook, January 28, 2013
    By 
    Angie

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    I bought the ebook for my kindle and have not finished reading it yet, but am excited to finish it. Good product!

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