In an era when immigration on a global scale defines the fears and aspirations of Americans, Crossing Borders presents the complexities of migration through the stories of families fleeing violence and poverty, the government and nongovernmental organizations helping or hindering their progress, and the American communities receiving them. Ali Noorani, who has spent years building bridges between immigrants and their often conservative communities, takes readers along to Honduras, Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, and Texas, meeting migrants and the organizations and people that help them on both sides of the border, reporting from the inside on why families make the heart-wrenching decision to leave home. Going beyond the polemical, partisan debate, Noorani offers sensitive insights and real solutions. Urgently needed, Crossing Borders will appeal to a broad audience of concerned citizens across the political spectrum, faith communities, policymakers, and immigrants themselves.
Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration, is the author of There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration.
Noorani is a sought-after commentator, and has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Economist, the Associated Press, and by several other national, regional, and international media. He is also a frequent guest on a range of television and radio shows, including MSNBC, the Lou Dobbs Show, the Bill O'Reilly Show, the Sean Hannity Show, Washington Journal, PBS Newshour, Fusion, NPR (the Diane Rehm Show, On Point, and Marketplace), and is an op-ed contributor to CNN.com, FoxNewsLatino.com, among others. Noorani is a regular guest on local talk radio shows across the country. He resides in Washington, DC.
In their efforts to flee violence, natural disaster, or to seek a warm meal to feed their family, I have seen how immigrants and refugees are pinned against borders around the world. Wrapped around stories of those who would scale any obstacle in search of a better future for their children, Ali Noorani unpacks the ugliness of the politics and policies of immigration, charting a path forward that serves the national interest and helps all of us become our better selves.
Perhaps no issue at this moment is so filled with passion and rage as immigration. I do not know of anyone alive more knowledgeable on the legal, moral, and cultural aspects of immigration than Ali Noorani. This book, a combination of memoir and analysis, frames how we arrived at this crisis, and how to go forward. The book never exchanges utopianism for realism nor does it ever exchange despair for hope. In this way, this book can help anyone to think through how to build coalitions, how to seek to persuade skeptics, and how to press on against daunting odds.
Immigration policy is complex and endlessly challenging on a good day. And the politics, always dicey, have become toxic. Fortunately for all of us, Ali Noorani has dedicated his life to bringing humanity and thoughtfulness to the issue. His moral clarity and searching intelligence are more important than ever. His is truly a voice we should all heed.
CROSSING BORDERS chronicles how politicians and pundits manipulate our fear of outsiders, encircling us in fear and blame, like coils of razor wire. But every so often, as Ali Noorani captures in vivid detail, there are mayors, police chiefs and business people who decline to be used in this way. Indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand how Americans can reclaim our own basic decency.
In an era of symbolic politics, when borders have become the organizing principle for how we legitimize disputes, resolve our own questions of identity and even contrive a sense of meaning and purpose, Ali Noorani steps into their manifestation in the U.S. immigration debate and powerfully disentangles their hold. Crossing Borders is a moving portrait of a country confused and contorted by caricature, even as it invites fresh courage for all who feel and are displaced.
Ali Noorani knows immigration. Crossing Borders is authoritative and objective—passionate, yet surprisingly hopeful. This book is crucial to our understanding of American immigration and therefore of America.
Ali Noorani gently helps those of us who have been too blind or too busy to see what we have missed in our responsibilities to offer all people dignity, love our neighbor, and care for the stranger. He helps us see that the stories we've been told by our "community" about immigrants are grounded in fear, not fact; hate, not love. And he gives us hope through examples of unlikely alliances among by small groups of people with the courage to step outside of their community's norms and offer dignity to fellow human beings.