The Reconciliation of a Nation of Immigrants
The angry 2010 rise of the Tea Party and the explosion of the 2013 Syrian refugee crisis set the stage for the coils of razor wire that stretch along borders from Eastern Europe to Calais to the U.S.-Mexico border. The geopolitical battle between liberal democracies of the West and autocrats of the East has been intensified by the movement of people from the South to the North. As a result, political fissures were exploited to shift the political debate from populism to nationalism, and now, to white nationalism. Caught in the middle are record numbers of displaced people. With little chance of returning to their homes, they cross borders to seek political, religious or economic freedom – pressed against sharp wires and cruel policies.
Based on interviews in Honduras and Eastern Europe, as well as communities across the U.S., CROSSING BORDERS investigates the politics and policies of immigration. What emerges is a clear link between the efforts of Breitbart News to weaponize global migration, the rise of Donald J. Trump, and the exceedingly cruel and deadly treatment of immigrants and refugees at borders around the world. As currently constructed, our immigration systems are designed to strip migrants of dignity. What we don’t realize is that we lose our dignity along the way.
More than an exposé of the forces for bad, CROSSING BORDERS shares strategies designed to stem the tides of fear and hate, finding trails that lead to the reconciliation of our nation of immigrants. CROSSING BORDERS finds hope for the future of immigration policy in rural America where the challenges of demographic and cultural change are embraced by local leaders. Mayors, school superintendents and police chiefs, partner with compassionate business leaders and faith communities to restore the dignity of immigrants, and the nation itself.
“In their efforts to flee violence, natural disaster, or to seek a warm meal to feed their family, I have seen how immigrants and refugees are pinned against borders around the world. Wrapped around stories of those who would scale any obstacle in search of a better future for their children, Ali Noorani unpacks the ugliness of the politics and policies of immigration, charting a path forward that serves the national interest and helps all of us become our better selves.”
– José Andrés
“Perhaps no issue at this moment is so filled with passion and rage as immigration. I do not know of anyone alive more knowledgeable on the legal, moral, and cultural aspects of immigration than Ali Noorani. This book, a combination of memoir and analysis, frames how we arrived at this crisis, and how to go forward. The book never exchanges utopianism for realism nor does it ever exchange despair for hope. In this way, this book can help anyone to think through how to build coalitions, how to seek to persuade skeptics, and how to press on against daunting odds.”
– Russell Moore, Christianity Today
“Immigration policy is complex and endlessly challenging on a good day. And the politics, always dicey, have become toxic. Fortunately for all of us, Ali Noorani has dedicated his life to bringing humanity and thoughtfulness to the issue. His moral clarity and searching intelligence are more important than ever. His is truly a voice we should all heed.”
– Jonathan Blitzer, Staff Writer, The New Yorker
“CROSSING BORDERS chronicles how politicians and pundits manipulate our fear of outsiders, encircling us in fear and blame, like coils of razor wire. But every so often, as Ali Noorani captures in vivid detail, there are mayors, police chiefs and business people who decline to be used in this way. Indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand how Americans can reclaim our own basic decency.”
– Amanda Ripley, journalist and bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World and High Conflict
“In an era of symbolic politics, when borders have become the organizing principle for how we legitimize disputes, resolve our own questions of identity and even contrive a sense of meaning and purpose, Ali Noorani steps into their manifestation in the U.S. immigration debate and powerfully disentangles their hold. Crossing Borders is a moving portrait of a country confused and contorted by caricature, even as it invites fresh courage for all who feel and are displaced.”
– Anne Snyder, Editor-in-Chief, Comment Magazine
“Ali Noorani knows immigration. Crossing Borders is authoritative and objective – passionate, yet surprisingly hopeful. This book is crucial to our understanding of American immigration and therefore of America.”
– Al Franken
“Ali Noorani gently helps those of us who have been too blind or too busy to see what we have missed in our responsibilities to offer all people dignity, love our neighbor, and care for the stranger. He helps us see that the stories we’ve been told by our “community” about immigrants are grounded in fear, not fact; hate, not love. And he gives us hope through examples of unlikely alliances among by small groups of people with the courage to step outside of their community’s norms and offer dignity to fellow human beings.”
– Elizabeth Neumann, Former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention