POLITICAL SCIENCE

Family Separation and the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis

ABC-CLIO. (21st-Century Turning Points). Jul. 2020. 156p. ISBN 9781440876615. $40. REF
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Hillstrom (Black Lives Matter: From a Moment to a Movement) explores policies at the U.S.-Mexico border that call for families to be separated and children to be detained. The sometimes distressing, but dispassionately presented material is organized into four sections: an overview (of U.S. immigration generally); notable events, impacts, and profiles (of a pediatrician and politicians Stephen Miller, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump, but not of any individuals directly affected by separations), followed by resources and an index. There is some useful repetition, which means that sections can be read individually. The author dutifully cites various political views, but the overwhelming bulk of evidence paints a picture of cruelty, bigotry, physical and psychological harm, human rights violations, and damage—to the United States as well as to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Although this work was published before revelations that the parents of 545 separated children still cannot be located and that other children were sent to Mexico rather than to their home countries, there is enough here to cast a lengthy shadow over America’s reputation.
VERDICT To understand this period and the impact of nativist, white supremacist movements, Hillstrom’s account (wider-ranging than the title indicates) with its extensive sources offers readers essential background and an objective, substantiated perspective.

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