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Posted April 19, 2010

Book: Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration
Author: Miguel A. De La Torre
Orbis Books. Maryknoll, NY. 2010. Pp. 211

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

The goal of Miguel De La Torre, the son of an undocumented immigrant and now a U.S. citizen and a professor of Christian ethics, is to develop a conversation on immigration that is constructive rather than filled with fear and hate.

Each of seven sections (Borders, Economics, Myths, Family Values, the Politics of Fear, Perspectives, and Ethical Responses) examines an issue and then includes stories or testimonies by undocumented migrants and those who work with the undocumented. Each chapter concludes with a poem, prayer, or a song that expresses the hope and the terror involved in crossing the border.

An Excerpt from the Book:

They are taking away our jobs.

If we are pro-business and pro-economic growth, then we must also be pro-immigration because, we as a country, do not have enough low-skilled workers. Instead, we accuse the undocumented immigrants of taking away jobs from U.S. citizens. Blaming the undocumented provides easy answers to the economic hardships faced by many Americans during the first decade of the new millennium. As Americans face record-level foreclosures of homes, spiraling gasoline prices, greater unemployment, and a downturn in stock prices, it isnít surprising that we seek to blame someone for the economic situation. Rather than focus on our economic structures that continue to contribute to the increasing gap between the few who are rich and the many who are poor, we focus our attention on the foreigner, the outsider, the Hispanic other for our economic woes. They are taking away our jobs. If only we could send them all back, we would begin to solve our economic situation.

Regardless of the rhetoric, scant evidence exists that the undocumented have caused any significant reduction in the wages of documented Americans. In 2004 undocumented workers held 6.3 million out of 1246 million jobs, or about 4.3 percent of all U.S. jobs. The growth in undocumented immigrant jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occurred in service occupations and other industries requiring minimal education or skills.

Table of Contents:




Family Values

The Politics of Fear


Ethical Responses