Monday, August 17, 2020

Michael Kagan's "The Battle to Stay in America"

Michael Kagan is the Joyce Mack Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is the director of the UNLV Immigration Clinic, which defends children and families fighting deportation in Las Vegas.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration's Hidden Front Line, and reported the following:
Page 99, opening line: "Psychological warfare also distracts." The Battle to Stay in America is a story about the hidden ways the Trump Administration has attacked immigrants in the United States, and of how one community on the invisible front line -- the people of Las Vegas -- have fought back. The psychological warfare has two parts. First, the constant, escalating threats against immigrant families takes a direct toll on people, on their health and well being, even if they never encounter ICE. But it also distracts attention from real dangers. That's what Page 99 is about. People fear ICE raids, but they're relatively rare. The books tells the story of one man, called Fernando, who ended up facing deportation after being pulled over by local police for a broken brake light. That's how most people are sucked into the deportation system, through the hidden connections of local police with federal immigration. It's a complex system that most people don't understand, but that's the biggest threat to immigrants in Las Vegas and many other American cities. The fear of ICE raids leads people to look in a different direction -- and that lowers defenses to the real attack. That's psychological warfare.

Page 99 captures the main conflict of The Battle to Stay in America. Can people come to understand the true threat facing their neighbors? Can anything be done about it? That's the struggle. The book tells the story of the first few years of that fight under Trump. But it's not over by any means.

The goal of The Battle to Stay in America is to tell a personal story, a story about a single community, and though that to inform people about how the immigration system works nationwide. People need to understand how an arbitrary, broken system impacts people they see every day. That's the best place to start for discussions about immigration.
Visit Michael Kagan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue