Looking to add scholarly insight into Arizona’s fiercely debated immigration law, experts from throughout the country have come together to address key issues in a new book that provides a range of political viewpoints and historical context while assessing immigration law and its consequences.
Otto Santa Ana and Celeste González de Bustamante, co-editors of “Arizona Firestorm: Global Immigration Realities, National Media, and Provincial Politics ,” assembled top scholars in the fields of immigration, economics, immigration law, ethnic studies and news media for the just-released book.
Bustamante, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona, said the book looks to add depth and fact to the immigration issue, which is global and not limited to just the U.S. or Arizona: “With the book, we hope to encourage a positive discourse on the global and local impact of immigration from the work of scholars who are not all coming from the same political perspectives or agenda."
Bustamante, an expert in news coverage on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands region, wrote two chapters and co-authored two others in the book.
Other contributing scholars explain the factors that compel immigrants to leave their homelands, lay out the historical context behind Arizona’s political acts and describe the media’s role in shaping national opinion about the subject.
“Arizona Firestorm” also covers a range of issues within the state including Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies and the role of public education for immigrant schoolchildren. Contributing scholars cover critical aspects of Arizona’s anti-immigrant politics that the editors say the media has left out.
“To maintain a strong democracy, Americans need more than the sound-bites that political opportunists repeat ad nauseam that create such anxiety across the nation. They need facts and more perspective on these issues. 'Arizona Firestorm’s' writers shed light on these issues with accessible and authoritative chapters,” said co-editor Santa Ana, an associate professor of Chicano/a Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles who was born and raised in Arizona.
Political viewpoints vary and include that of former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who rejects efforts to end birthright citizenship. Gonzales’ chapter is extremely topical, in light of President Barack Obama’s recent executive order to halt deportations of law-abiding undocumented youth.
“Immigration will be a critical topic in the Obama/Romney campaign,” said González de Bustamante. “We hope that 'Arizona Firestorm' diminishes the rhetoric of extremists and partisans by adding sense and balance to the discussion.”
“Arizona Firestorm” is published and available by order through the Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group.