Chapter 12 Immigration workplace raids and the politics of cruelty: the case of Postville, Iowa
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The backlash to undocumented immigrants has been a persistent feature of the American political landscape since the 1990s, when the undocumented population rose from approximately 3 million to a high of over 12 million during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The Trump (mal)administration has ratcheted up anti-immigrant animus and has attempted to pursue actions - some plainly illegal - that are intentionally cruel and designed to generate fear. However, in contrast to the last great migratory wave in the US (1880–1930), today’s immigrants, including the undocumented, can count on greater support from the public; the ranks of elected officials at the local, state and national levels; and numerous civil society organizations. This chapter offers an overview of resistance to the immigrant backlash, seeking in the process to assess the level of civic power that such resistance has been able to achieve.

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