Against the Deportation Terror

Organizing for Immigrant Rights in the Twentieth Century

Rachel Ida Buff
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1534-9
Publication: Nov 17

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1533-2
Publication: Nov 17

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1535-6
Publication: Nov 17

298 pages
6 x 9
3 figs., 18 halftones, 1 maps

Reveals the formerly little-known history of multiracial immigrant rights organizing in the United States

Read an excerpt from the Introduction (pdf).


Despite being characterized as a “nation of immigrants,” the United States has seen a long history of immigrant rights struggles. In her timely book Against the Deportation Terror, Rachel Ida Buff uncovers this multiracial history. She traces the story of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born (ACPFB) from its origins in the 1930s through repression during the early Cold War, to engagement with “new” Latinx and Caribbean immigrants in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Functioning as a hub connecting diverse foreign-born communities and racial justice advocates, the ACPFB responded to various, ongoing crises of what they called “the deportation terror.” Advocates worked against repression, discrimination, detention, and expulsion in migrant communities across the nation at the same time as they supported reform of federal immigration policy. Prevailing in some cases and suffering defeats in others, the story of the ACPFB is characterized by persistence in multiracial organizing even during periods of protracted repression.

By tracing the work of the ACPFB and its allies over half a century, Against the Deportation Terror provides important historical precedent for contemporary immigrant rights organizing. Its lessons continue to resonate today.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Subaltern Past of Immigrant Rights
1. Aliens, Refugees, Citizens: The American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, 1933–1959
2. Becoming Alien: The March Inland Blows Up the Cold War Space-Time Continuum
3. Ports of Entry, Exclusion, and Removal: "Alien" Seamen
4. Counterinsurgencies: Global Militarism and Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles
5. "Creating Dangerously": Foreign-Born Writers and Crimes of Persuasion
6. The Names of the Lost: Cold War Deportation Cases in the Mass Media
7. Repurposing Immigrant Rights Advocacy, 1959–1982
Conclusion: The Subaltern Futures of Immigrant Rights


About the Author(s)

Rachel Ida Buff is Professor of History and Coordinator of the Comparative Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM). She is the editor of Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship and the author of Immigration and the Political Economy of Home: West Indian Brooklyn and American Indian Minneapolis, 19451992. She is a proud member of the UWM chapter of the American Association of University Professionals.


In the Series

  • Insubordinate Spaces edited by George Lipsitz

    The Insubordinate Spaces series, edited by George Lipsitz, is a home for books that resist and rethink the increasingly outsized power market forces wield over public and private life and over the rules and assumptions of scholarly investigation and discourse. The series seeks to explore the origins and evolution of these contemporary and historical subordinating institutions and practices, as well as emergent insubordinate social spaces and institutions crafted to resist market imperatives and provide alternatives to them in the form of new publics, new polities, and new politics.