Guarding the Gates
Immigration and National Security
by Michael C. LeMay
September 2006, 340pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99294-1
$61, £47, 54€, A84
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eBook Available: 978-0-313-08709-7
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Highlights the role of national security in immigration policy, showing how the two issues have always been inextricably linked, since long before the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s absorption by the Department of Homeland Security.

National security has always been an integral consideration in immigration policy, never more so than in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. This is the first history of American immigration policy written in the post-9/11 environment to focus specifically on the role of national security considerations in determining that policy. As LeMay makes clear, this is not the first time America has worried about letting foreigners through our gates.

By the time readers reach the final chapter, in which current policies regarding the interplay between immigration and national security are discussed, they have the historical perspective necessary to assess the pros and cons of what is happening today. They are able to more clearly answer questions such as: Does putting the Immigration and Naturalization Service under the Department of Homeland Security make the country more secure? Do vigilantes improve border security? How are we handling the balance between national security and civil liberties compared to the ways in which we handled it during World Wars I and II and the Cold War? LeMay does not advocate a specific policy; rather, he gives citizens and students the tools to make up their own minds about this enduringly controversial issue.


"Today's immigration debate receives some much-needed historical perspective in this new book by LeMay, long regarded as a leading authority on US immigration policy....LeMay frames the ebb and flow of immigration policy--leaning variably toward accommodation versus restriction--into five chronological periods: The Open-Door Cycle, 1820-1880; The Door-Ajar Cycle, 1880-1920; The Pet-Door Cycle, 1920-1960; The Dutch-Door Cycle, 1960-1990; and The Storm-Door Cycle, 1990-?. In this last section and in an especially strong concluding chapter, LeMay emphasizes the key role national security has always played in immigration policy making, a conjunction more apparent and influential in post-9/11 US society. The author is generally careful to avoid taking political sides on the polarizing immigration question, noting simply that history teaches the certainty that new coalitions--and new cycles--will continually form and reform depending on society's prevailing broader concerns. An excellent bibliography follows the narrative. Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries."—Choice, November 1, 2007

"LeMay offers the first history of American immigration policy written in the post-9/11 environment to focus specifically on the role of national security considerations in determining that policy. Following an overview of U.S. immigration policy, the various waves in the composition of immigration to the U.S., and five distinct cycles or phases in immigration policy, each of the five subsequent chapters explores in greater detail the five cycles: the Open-Door Era, the Door-Ajar Era, the Pet-Door Era, the Dutch-Door Era, and the Storm-Door Era. The text concludes with a critique of recent laws and proposals, and likely developments in the future."—Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2007

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