+ ++ Huckleberry Finn figures prominently in new book by UCSB expert in immigration law, policy | Latina Lista
Local Stories

Huckleberry Finn figures prominently in new book by UCSB expert in immigration law, policy

Huckleberry Finn figures prominently in new book by UCSB expert in immigration law, policy

Amigos805.com

ventura-county

SANTA BARBARA — This is the overarching question that frames John S.W. Park’s new book, “Illegal Migrations and the Huckleberry Finn Problem” (Temple University Press, 2013), and it’s a question that has confronted many American citizens time and again throughout their history.

The question has appeared in many troublesome settings. If you lived in the North before the Civil War, for example, and you happened upon a fugitive slave, would you report him to the authorities so he could be “returned” to his lawful owner? If you lived in San Francisco in 1900, after Congress passed successive waves of federal legislation designed to exclude and remove Chinese immigrants from the United States, and you discovered your Chinese neighbor wasn’t in the country legally, would you tell? In our own time, if you found that your neighbor –– or your neighbor’s gardener or nanny –– was an “illegal alien,” would you tell? Should you tell?

The dilemma in contemporary America is similar to the one Huckleberry Finn encountered when he discovered a runaway slave named Jim.

“It’s a common problem throughout American history,” said Park, a professor of Asian American studies at UC Santa Barbara. “Nowadays, it seems unthinkable from a moral point of view that Americans once thought it was morally correct to report fugitive slaves –– and to make money in the process –– but that was our public law at one time. Our Constitution had several provisions addressing the issue, and Congress and the Supreme Court reinforced them on a number of occasions.”

At some point, Park suggests, we and our descendants might look back at the immigration policies we have in place now and decide they were as unjust as these older rules. After all, no one in Congress now believes that we should return to Chinese Exclusion, or that we should consider Asian immigrants as hopelessly “unassimilable.”

These lessons of history might give us pause: “We might look back and think that we should have just embraced the reality that migration is, to a large part, inevitable,” he said. “Due to inequalities in life chances in various parts of the world, people will migrate. Instead of just criminalizing them as we have, we must develop other ways of coping.”

Poor immigrants have suffered the most under our current forms of control, but Park suggests that it doesn’t have to be this way. “If the U.S. and other wealthy countries want to regulate flow, they should consider the conditions in sending countries,” he said. “Illegal immigrants almost always come from poorer places.”

To improve their lives –– and to address our own immigration issues in a more just way –– Americans may have to think beyond their boundaries and to take a more global perspective. “They’d have to think about sharing the world, rather than thinking of this country as a fortress,” Park said. “The whole idea of criminalizing immigrants, making bigger fences, is…

Finish reading Huckleberry Finn figures prominently in new book by UCSB expert in immigration law, policy

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Local Stories

More in Local Stories

2_460_34a4a53b-561f-4b6a-a956-8ae7fda84a4b

SF Mission Organizers Debut Film on Alex Nieto Case

Latina ListaJanuary 5, 2016
2_453_832f7f3a-cc83-4873-abba-2825da162c90

In one West Valley community, ever-shifting demographics are changing the face of Phoenix

Latina ListaDecember 21, 2015
2_447_a4c84946-4d35-45e6-970f-2d6efb869afe

Rio Grande Valley teachers urged not to turn away students who want to join robotics teams

Latina ListaDecember 17, 2015
2_443_7727a68e-6830-450b-a2a5-0ba1ade69039

U.S. speech and debate teams dig deep for material to overcome literary void of Latino voices

Latina ListaDecember 16, 2015
2_438_1ddd421b-615c-497f-88c6-d9dd33a6cfa5

In All Cases, Oklahoma Police Find No Proof of Racial Profiling

Latina ListaDecember 15, 2015
2_433_d2b59a30-e7e7-49b8-86bc-416abab83622

Bridging a border to unite my transnational family

Latina ListaDecember 10, 2015
2_428_be76ed14-acf4-46ac-9ba8-60de992edd5c

San Diego’s Balboa Park Hosts 32 International Cottages, but Mexico is not one of them

Latina ListaDecember 9, 2015
2_424_933816bc-0b44-4f62-8503-74fc00592dca

One of Chicago’s most prolific artists, Marcos Raya, highlighted at city museum

Latina ListaDecember 8, 2015
2_418_d6650135-5378-41d7-bbc4-f01770b591a2

Young refugees who arrive at the border alone struggle in U.S.

Latina ListaDecember 7, 2015