Drawing from a rich set of archival sources, Fictive Kinship shows that even the most draconian anti-immigrant laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, contained provisions for family unity, albeit for a limited class of immigrants. Arguments for uniting families separated by World War II and the Korean War also shaped immigration debates and the policies that led to the landmark 1965 Immigration Act. Lee argues that debating the contours of family offers a ready set of symbols and meanings to frame national identity and to define who counts as “one of us.” Talk about family, however, does not inevitably lead to more liberal immigration policies. Welfare reform in the 1990s, for example, placed limits on benefits for immigrant families, and recent debates over the children of undocumented immigrants fanned petitions to rescind birthright citizenship. Fictive Kinship shows that the centrality of family unity in the immigration discourse often limits the discussion about the goals, functions and roles of immigration and prevents a broader definition of American identity.
Too often, studies of immigration policy focus on individuals or particular ethnic or racial groups. With its original and wide-ranging inquiry, Fictive Kinship shifts the analysis in immigration studies toward the family, a largely unrecognized but critical component in the regulation of immigrants’ experience in America.
CATHERINE LEE is associate professor of sociology and faculty associate at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University.
While university-based activists combined youth culture with a new brand of radicalism to form the New Left, young workers were pressing for wildcat strikes and defying their aging union leaders in a wave of renewed militancy. In Rebel Youth, Ian Milligan looks at these converging currents, demonstrating convincingly how they were part of a single youth phenomenon.
With just short of seventy interviews complementing the extensive use of archival records from ten different cities, this book claims a central place for labour and class in the legacy of the Canadian sixties.