Pursuing Citizenship In The Enforcement Era

Author: Ming Hsu Chen
Publisher: Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020. 232p.
Reviewer: Shannon Gleeson | May 2021

Immigration is one of those perennially thorny topics that remains a focus of discussion and debate. It is the topic of Ming Hsu Chen’s book Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era. Our reviewer Shannon Gleeson says that Chen is one of a small group of political theorists who study immigration by “actually asking immigrants directly about why they pursue citizenship, and about their experiences in doing so.” The author draws her findings from interviews with many different categories of immigrants – undocumented immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACAs), temporary visa holders, refugees, and legal permanent residents. Her goal is to understand why these immigrants want to become American citizens. “This way of understanding citizenship,” says Glesson, “illuminates the central question of who feels American, and why (or why not).”