The Law Into Their Own Hands

Immigration and the Politics of Exceptionalism

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Border security and illegal immigration along the U.S.–Mexico border are hotly debated issues in contemporary society. The emergence of civilian vigilante groups, such as the Minutemen, at the border is the most recent social phenomenon to contribute new controversy to the discussion. The Law Into Their Own Hands looks at the contemporary nativist, anti-immigrant movement in the United States today.

Doty examines the social and political contexts that have enabled these civilian groups to flourish and gain legitimacy amongst policy makers and the public. The sentiments underlying the vigilante movement both draw upon and are channeled through a diverse range of organizations whose messages are often reinforced by the media. Taking action when they believe official policy is lacking, groups ranging from elements of the religious right to anti-immigrant groups to white supremacists have created a social movement.

Doty seeks to alert us to the consequences related to this growing movement and to the restructuring of our society. She maintains that with immigrants being considered as enemies and denied basic human rights, it is irresponsible of both citizens and policy makers to treat this complicated issue as a simple black or white reality.

In this solid and theoretically grounded look at contemporary, post-9/11 border vigilantism, the author observes the dangerous and unproductive manner in which private citizens seek to draw firm and uncompromising lines between who is worthy of inclusion in our society and who is not.
“In addition to chronicling the rise and extent of an anti-immigration social movement, Doty offers normative arguments about the consequences of denying basic human rights to immigrants to the US.”—Choice


“Doty examines, with a broad empirical understanding, the phenomenon of border vigilantism along the U.S.–Mexico border. An original and long-awaited contribution to the literature of the field.”—Tony Payan, author of Cops, Soldiers, and Diplomats: Explaining Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs, also published by the University of Arizona Press
The Law Into Their Own Hands
176 Pages 6 x 9 x 0.6 Published: 2009 Paperback (9780816527717)
Ebook (9780816534982)

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