Deported Americans

Life after Deportation to Mexico

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: Published: April 2019

Chicanx and Latinx Studies, General Interest > Current Affairs, Law > Legal History

When Gina was deported to Tijuana, Mexico, in 2011, she left behind her parents, siblings, and children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. Despite having once had a green card, Gina was removed from the only country she had ever known. In Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells Gina's story alongside those of dozens of other Dreamers, who are among the hundreds of thousands who have been deported to Mexico in recent years. Many of them had lawful status, held green cards, or served in the U.S. military. Now, they have been banished, many with no hope of lawfully returning. Having interviewed over one hundred deportees and their families, Caldwell traces deportation's long-term consequences—such as depression, drug use, and homelessness—on both sides of the border. Showing how U.S. deportation law systematically fails to protect the rights of immigrants and their families, Caldwell challenges traditional notions of what it means to be an American and recommends legislative and judicial reforms to mitigate the injustices suffered by the millions of U.S. citizens affected by deportation.


"A deeply informed appeal to create more humane practices for noncitizens facing criminal deportation. . . . Caldwell looks systematically at the effects of deportation to Mexico on the spouses and children especially (drug abuse, depression, suicide, attractions to gangs) and how this inhumane banishment should be amended. A compelling, rigorously researched legal argument against the demonization of deportees." — Kirkus Reviews

"By telling their stories, Caldwell humanizes the crises these individuals endure, including those of spouses and children who face the decision of having to leave everything they know behind to be with their exiled loved ones. A stark portrayal of the contradictory, misguided, and ineffectual immigration laws that determine the futures of so many." — Kenneth Otani, Booklist

"Accessible and eye-opening. . . . Caldwell’s extensive research, astute legal analysis, and readable prose make this a layperson-friendly introduction to a thorny problem." — Publishers Weekly

"Drawing on heart-rending interviews with deportees . . . Caldwell decries the inconsistencies between the legal definition of citizenship and people’s experiences of rootedness. She argues that citizenship should be based on a person’s cultural associations rather than on national boundaries." — Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs

"Compelling, comprehensive and properly chilling." — Andrea Plate, Asia Media International

"The publication of Deported Americans is immensely significant. . . . The literature on post-deportation life has shone light on the disorientation and alienation that accompany deportation. . . Caldwell is the first, however, to examine this population systematically in book-length form." — Tobin Hansen, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews

"Scholars looking for innovative theory-building in deportation studies may not be satisfied after reading this book, as it clearly sets out to accomplish another goal: giving voice to marginalized Americans and directing attention to the flaws in the immigration enforcement system. Caldwell’s elegant writing helps her achieve this goal, and a wide range of scholars across disciplines studying the implementation of deportation policies and lived experiences of non-citizens will enjoy reading this book." — Laura Cleton, PoLAR

"Deported Americans bridges an imperative gap in the literature on immigration, legal policy, and family separation and provides helpful interpretive tools in the field of migration studies. It is a worthwhile resource for academics, policymakers, and practitioners interested in understanding the causes and consequences of migration and deportation policy." — Kristina Lovato, International Migration Review

“Deported Americans is an elegantly written and well-conceived book that makes an important contribution for academics, policymakers, and legal practitioners interested in understanding the causes and consequences of deportation policy.”

— Kimberly Beaudreau, H-Migration, H-Net Reviews

“In this beautifully written book, Beth C. Caldwell presents the story of ‘deported Americans’—noncitizens with strong ties to the United States who view themselves as Americans. She sheds much-needed light on how deportees experience and attempt to cope with their removal from the United States. In so doing, Caldwell not only provides a picture of the difficult and sometimes heartbreaking experiences of our deported diaspora but also presents a useful roadmap for policy reform.” — Jennifer M. Chacón, coauthor of Immigration Law and Social Justice

Deported Americans provides a compelling, clear, and humanistic analysis of the widespread consequences of U.S. policies of mass deportations. Drawing on extensive research, and writing evocatively and personably about the lives of deportees, Beth C. Caldwell deftly combines astute legal analysis with rich stories of deportees and their family members.” — Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, author of Forced Out and Fenced In: Immigration Tales from the Field


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Price: $25.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Beth C. Caldwell is Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills at Southwestern Law School and was formerly an attorney in the Los Angeles County Office of the Public Defender.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction  1
1. In the Shadow of Due Process  17
2. Return to a Foreign Land  49
3. Life after Deportation  67
4. Deported by Marriage  101
5. Children of Deportees  127
Conclusion. Resistance and Reforms  153
Epilogue  189
Notes  193
Index  227
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Named to the Longlist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0390-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0360-1
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