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June 12, 2020

Adam Goodman

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes ADAM GOODMAN—an historian in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago—for a discussion of his book The Deportation Machine: America's Long History of Expelling Immigrants. He will be joined in conversation by celebrated novelist FRANCISCO GOLDMAN.


Constant headlines about deportations, detention camps, and border walls drive urgent debates about immigration and what it means to be an American in the twenty-first century. The Deportation Machine traces the long and troubling history of the US government's systematic efforts to terrorize and expel immigrants over the past 140 years. This provocative, eye-opening book provides needed historical perspective on one of the most pressing social and political issues of our time.

In a sweeping and engaging narrative, Adam Goodman examines how federal, state, and local officials have targeted various groups for expulsion, from Chinese and Europeans at the turn of the twentieth century to Central Americans and Muslims today. He reveals how authorities have singled out Mexicans, nine out of ten of all deportees, and removed most of them not by orders of immigration judges but through coercive administrative procedures and calculated fear campaigns. Goodman uncovers the machine's three primary mechanisms—formal deportations, "voluntary" departures, and self-deportations—and examines how public officials have used them to purge immigrants from the country and exert control over those who remain. Exposing the pervasive roots of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, The Deportation Machine introduces the politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and ordinary citizens who have pushed for and profited from expulsion.

This revelatory book chronicles the devastating human costs of deportation and the innovative strategies people have adopted to fight against the machine and redefine belonging in ways that transcend citizenship.

About Author(s)

Adam Goodman teaches in the Department of History and the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His writing on immigration history and policy and U.S. and Mexican politics has appeared in outlets such as the Washington PostThe Nation, and the Journal of American History. Goodman is a faculty advisor to UIC's Fearless Undocumented Alliance, a co-convener of the Newberry Library's Borderlands and Latinx Studies seminar, and a co-organizer of the #ImmigrationSyllabus public history project. The Deportation Machine: America's Long History of Expelling Immigrants is his first book.

Francisco Goldman is a novelist and journalist whose work has won awards both in the United States and abroad, including the Prix Femina Étranger award for Say Her Name and the Premio Metropolis Azul for The Interior Circuit. He received the PEN México Award for Literary Excellence in 2018 and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library's Cullman Center, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Goldman currently directs the Premio Aura Estrada and is the Allan K. Smith Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Trinity College. His new novel, Monkey Boy, will be published in 2021.