The election of Barack Obama prompted people around the world to herald the
dawning of a new, postracial era in America. Yet a scant one month after
Obama’s election, Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhanay, a 31-year old Ecuadorian immigrant,
was ambushed by a group of white men as he walked arm and arm with his brother.
Yelling anti-Latino slurs, the men beat Sucuzhanay into a coma. He died 5 days
The incident is one of countless attacks—ranging from physical violence to
raids on homes and workplaces to verbal abuse—that Latino/a immigrants have
confronted for generations in America. And these attacks—physical and
otherwise—are accepted by a substantial number of American citizens and elected
officials, who are virulently opposed to immigrant groups crossing the Mexican
border. Quick to cast all Latino/a immigrants as illegal, opponents have placed undocumented workers at the center of their anti-immigrant movement, and as
such, many different types of native Spanish-speakers in this country (legal,
illegal, citizen, guest), have been targeted as being responsible for
increasing crime rates, a plummeting economy, and an erosion of traditional
American values and culture.
In Those Damned Immigrants,
Ediberto Román takes on critics of Latina/o immigration, drawing on empirical
evidence to refute charges of links between immigration and crime, economic
downfall, and a weakening of Anglo culture. Román utilizes government
statistics, economic data, historical records, and social science research to
provide a counter-narrative to what he argues is a largely one-sided public
discourse on Latino/a immigration.
This data-driven and massively documented study replaces rhetoric with analysis, myth with fact, and apocalyptic predictions with sane and realizable proposals.
Stanley Fish,Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor, Florida International University
This outstanding book illuminates the historical, economic, political and even psychological aspects of one of the major civil rights issues of our time. Balanced, thoroughly researched and clear-eyed, this volume is sure to angerand should be readby partisans on both sides of the immigration debate. In a controversy dominated by selective presentation of evidence and oversimplification, Román brings sorely needed expertise and fair-minded analysis.
Gabriel Chin,University of California Davis School of Law