Chapter 2 summary notes – Ngai

In this chapter, Ngai portrays the increased racial division of the US deportation rule in the 1920s and 1930s. He also shows how this affected the non-European population. In 1920, the deportation rule was introduced. In 1924, the entry without inspection rule was introduced removing the restrictions on deportation (58). Strict border patrol was conducted on the southern border but the northern border was rarely monitored. At this time, only the Mexican community was affected by the deportation. With time, both the Mexicans and the European communities were affected and a public protest was held. This protest was against unfair deportations of deserving illegal immigrants (76). The administrative law decided to solve this problem. Most of the European immigrants were permitted back to US through careful administrative measures. Pre-examination was conducted. The Europeans went to Canada to receive a visa that will enable them to become permanent US residents. This enabled the US to choose the people it preferred as its residents. The Mexicans did not get this opportunity. They were deported and not given the chance to be back in the United States. Therefore, the quotas and other restrictive measures changed the previously lawful immigrants to those subject to deportation. However, the decentralization of European immigrants and racial treatment of black aliens helped in distinguishing the deserving from the undeserving illegal aliens. This left only the undeserving to deportation. These were the blacks since they preferred the whites to be permanent residents in United States. (88)

In this chapter, the theme of racism is portrayed. The racial issue is always evident within the African American community. Most of the immigrants always have the same social and economic conditions. However, when the deportation rule was changed, the blacks were rarely considered. Instead, the whites were the ones considered permanent residents in the United States. They whites were the deserving ones (89). The Europeans carried out a public protest in order to be allowed to stay in the United States. In turn, the US allowed them a chance by allowing them to get visas but then they chose the people they wanted as their permanent residents. With this choice, they opted for the whites and not the black immigrants. Though the Europeans were given a second chance to seek citizenship, the Mexicans were not allowed this chance. They were therefore racial to the black immigrants denying them a chance in the US.

In addition, the immigration theme is also portrayed. The United States conducted deportation of the Mexicans and the Europeans. They strictly monitored the borders in search for the immigrants. However, when the entry without restriction rule was introduced, the border searches were minimized on the Mexican side. It was still strict on the European side and most of them were deported. They fought for their rights and they were allowed a second chance to seek US citizenship using a procedure that was selective. The Mexicans previously crossed the border without permission since they did not have passports that were required before crossing the border. Their white skin made it difficult to distinguish them from the Americans. With time, they were referred to as the illegal aliens. Crossing the border became an act of illegal immigration. These Mexicans and other people that illegally crossed the border were referred to as immigrants and to correct this, they were deported back to their countries.


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