UNC-Charlotte Lecture on Forthcoming Book

This is the last lecture I gave on book manuscript before finally submitting the final draft to my editor. Here’s the abstract:

Home to Ellis Island, the state of New Jersey has been the first stop for many new immigrants for over a century. Paradoxically, in this diverse state so central to American immigration history, some of the most anti-immigrant policies in the country are being introduced. What sets New Jersey apart is that these policies are being introduced at the municipal level in the state’s suburbs. Just when they thought they had achieved the “American Dream” in their suburban homes, immigrants instead experience an American nightmare. The paradox of anti-immigrant policies in a historically immigrant state like New Jersey is what Rodriguez tries to understand in her forthcoming book, In Lady Liberty’s Shadow: Race and Immigration in Post-9/11 New Jersey. She examines the impact of anti-immigrant municipal ordinances on a range of immigrant groups living in different types of suburban communities from undocumented Latinos in predominantly white suburbs to long-established Asian immigrants in “majority-minority” suburbs. Rodriguez connects the contemporary phenomenon of anti-immigrant municipal ordinances to longer histories of African American exclusion. The “American Dream” that suburban life is supposed to represent rests on a racialized social order that was meant to only be enjoyed by whites. Though it is a case study of New Jersey, In Lady Liberty’s Shadow, offers crucial insights that can shed new light on the national immigration debate.