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News ::
The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America
07 May 2002
When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 were passed, they were seen as triumphs of liberal reform applauded by the majority of Americans. But today, as Hugh Graham shows in Collision Course, affirmative action is foundering in the great waves of immigration from Asia and Latin America, leading to direct conflict for jobs, housing, education, and government preference programs.
Collision Course
The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America
HUGH DAVIS GRAHAM

A revealing look at the conflict that has erupted between two hallmarks of liberal reform--affirmative action and immigration policy

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 were passed, they were seen as triumphs of liberal reform applauded by the majority of Americans. But today, as Hugh Graham shows in Collision Course, affirmative action is foundering in the great waves of immigration from Asia and Latin America, leading to direct conflict for jobs, housing, education, and government preference programs.

How did two such well-intended laws come to loggerheads? Graham argues that a sea change occurred in American political life in the late 1960s, when a system of split government--one party holding the White House, the other holding Congress--divided authority and enhanced the ability of interest groups to win expanded benefits. In civil rights, this led to a shift from nondiscrimination to the race-conscious remedies of hard affirmative action. In immigration, it led to a surge that by 2000 had brought 35 million immigrants to America, 26 million of them Asian or Latin American and therefore eligible, as "official minorities," for affirmative action preferences. The policies collided when employers, acting under affirmative action plans, hired millions of immigrants while leaving high unemployment among inner-city blacks. Affirmative action for immigrants stirred wide resentment and drew new attention to policy contradictions. Graham sees a troubled future for both programs. As the economy weakens and antiterrorist border controls tighten, the competition for jobs will intensify pressure on affirmative action and invite new restrictions on immigration.
Graham's insightful interpretation of the unintended consequences of these policies is original and controversial. A short, focused, and even-handed narrative, it illuminates many of the issues that vex the United States today.

"In his probing new book, [Graham] pulls the two topics together and concludes that immigration poses a mortal threat to existing civil-rights policy.... Graham believes the explosive growth in affirmative-action eligibility, thanks to immigration, now threatens the future of a program designed originally to empower blacks."--John J. Miller, The Wall Street Journal

"There is no better guide for understanding civil rights history and politics than Hugh Davis Graham. With the broad vision, balance, and rigor that are his trademarks, Collision Course explains America's inexplicable civil rights politics at the century's turn. Boldly original, provocative, and utterly fascinating."--John D. Skrentny, University of California, San Diego, and author of The Ironies of Affirmative Action

"Combining shrewd political analysis with scholarly rigor, Hugh Graham packs more into these 200 pages than most of us could in 400. His analysis of the unanticipated interaction of immigration and affirmative action policies is tough-minded but scrupulously balanced. And by forcing us to think carefully about two issues that have been debated not only separately but irrationally, Graham helps us to understand our racial and ethnic past--and future."--Peter Skerry, Claremont McKenna College and the Brookings Institution

"Graham's account suggests that while immigration's future in America remains bright, affirmative action as we have known it is probably doomed. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in either." --Peter H. Schuck, Yale University Law School


ISBN 0-19-514318-3
http://www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0195143183.html
See also:
http://www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0195143183.html
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