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Faces of Migration: David Bacon’s Illegal People

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For those concerned with immigrant and worker rights, Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Migrants, is a must-read.   Photojournalist and documentarian David Bacon explores a side of immigration rarely mentioned in the political sphere.  He crafts a sharp, well-argued analysis detailing the causes and effects of migration, in the context of the globalizing economy, from the perspective of migrants themselves.  Through an interwoven narrative of ethnographic snapshots and recent political history, the reader is introduced to people who have traveled great distances in order to find work.

Through interviews with migrants from Oaxaca, Mexico to the Philippines he challenges his readers to face the everyday reality of those society labels as “illegal” and “undocumented.”  Whether they are farmers in the fields, day laborer organizers in the community, or cleaners working two jobs to sustain family abroad, they all share the identity of being a migrant worker in the U.S.  The reader becomes a witness to the suffering and injustice migrants face at the hands of indecisive politicians, international trade agendas, and institutional oppression.

Bacon also cites key historical moments in U.S. immigration law, immigrant labor movements, union politics, and international trade policy to expose the structural forces affecting the lives of workers.  He emphasizes that U.S. immigration policy enforcement continues to create a wide space for employers, contractors, and the government to criminalize and exploit workers.  Illegal People reads as a passionate polemic, but most importantly it presents a testimony to the human side of globalization and the need for people to come together in defense of human interests, rather than capital.

You can find a copy of David Bacon’s latest book on-line or at your local bookstore.

Illegal People:  How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

By David Bacon

Copyright 2008