Dying To Live
A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid




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"A Tale of Two Voyages" Joseph Nevins in the Huffington Post


Joseph Nevins, author of Dying to Live, responds to the mainstream media's coverage of the Costa Concordia disaster and also addresses another tragedy in which a small vessel carrying migrants from the Dominican Republic sank, killing 52 people. Nevins discusses the dangerous journey of migrants trying to reach Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic and the injustice of mainstream media's lack of coverage on these types of disasters.

-Joseph Nevins, Huffington Post Feb 21, 2012

Security First: The Obama Administration and Immigration "Reform"

"In a November 13 speech to the Center for American Progress in Washington, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano made clear that President Obama's administration intends to move forward soon on legislation that would bring about 'an immigration system that works.' The administration, she promised, "will pursue reforms" true to an American identity as 'both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.' In this way, Napolitano asserted, Congress and the White House would avoid the pitfalls of the 'one-sided' reforms of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. ...

The administration's apparent new willingness to take on immigration reform might seem like a ray of light in an increasingly bleak landscape for immigrants, especially of the unauthorized variety. But at a time of a deep economic downturn, and with anti-immigrant sentiment strongly in the air, the challenges are daunting, to say the least, in terms of Congress passing legislation aimed at easing the repressive laws and exclusion endured by immigrants."

-Joseph Nevins, ZMagazine Jan 10, 2010

Haitian Immigrant's Redemption Story Leaves ICE Cold

"Can people change?

This question is at the heart of a fight between Homeland Security and Jean Montrevil. The answer has major implications for the reforms that lawmakers propose when they take up immigration reform after health care."

-Mizue Aizeki & Aarti Shahani, New American Media Jan 8, 2010

Roberto Martinez: The Struggle to Overcome the U.S.-Mexico Divide

"At 6:30 a.m. on May 20, agents from the U.S. Border Patrol and the Transportation Safety Administration descended on a trolley station near downtown San Diego. After questioning commuters about their U.S. residency status—allegedly because they were behaving suspiciously—agents detained 21 individuals, three of whom were teenagers on their way to their high school. Later that day, having made the determination that the three minors were in the United States 'illegally,' the Border Patrol deported them to Mexico, thus dividing them from their parents and siblings living in San Diego."

-Joseph Nevins, War Resisters League

The Dangers of not Thinking Politically: A Review of Sin Nombre

"At the same time, Sin Nombre makes invisible the U.S. enforcement apparatus. In terms of the actual movement across the U.S.-Mexico boundary, it only shows a single unauthorized crossing, one that is successful and seemingly challenge-free. The films does this despite the fact that the size of the boundary and immigration apparatus has exploded in the last 15 years — the U.S. Border Patrol, for instance, has more than quadrupled in size (there are today 18,000+ agents) during this period. Meanwhile, more than 5,000 migrant bodies have been recovered in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands since 1995, a tragic manifestation of the boundary's 'hardening.'"

-Joseph Nevins, dissidentvoice.org May 25, 2009

Pirates Vs. Emperors
"About 16 centuries ago the renowned theologian St. Augustine related a tale about a pirate captured by Alexander the Great who asked his prisoner 'how he dares molest the sea.' 'How dare you molest the whole world?' responded the pirate. 'Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor.'

Centuries later, this unjust dynamic became widespread as Western powers carved up the globe. Throughout their colonies they established courts that prosecuted crimes defined by the occupying power. Not surprisingly, the courts typically focused their efforts on the alleged crimes of imperial subjects, while upholding the institutionalized injustices and the acts of physical violence needed to sustain it."

-Joseph Nevins, New America Media May 7, 2009

ZNet Interview with Joseph Nevins about his new book

"Can you tell ZNet, please, what Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid is about? What is it trying to communicate?

On one level, Dying to Live is about the life and death of one migrant from central Mexico, Julio Cesar Gallegos. It concerns how and why he left his homeland for Los Angeles in 1993, and his fatal attempt to cross the border once again several years later, this time in California's Imperial Valley. At the time, he was trying to rejoin his son and wife, then pregnant with their second child, in Los Angeles after having returned to his hometown of Juchipila, Zacatecas."

-ZNet Feb 5, 2009

2008 Honorable Mention

"Joseph Nevins and Mizue Aizeki, authors of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid received an Honorable Mention Award from the Gustavus Myers Center."

-Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Dec 23, 2008

In Age of Migration, Human Rights Declaration Falls Short

"Sixty years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as 'a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.' Since its birth on Dec. 10, 1948, the declaration has played a significant role in advancing the rights and freedoms it enumerates. Yet it has also helped legitimate the putative right of nation-states to regulate immigration, thus denying freedom of international mobility and residence, and undermining basic human rights in the process."

-Joseph Nevins, New American Media Dec 10, 2008

Barricading the Border: A History of the US/Mexico Border Fence
"On August 18, 1971, first lady Pat Nixon inaugurated Border Field State Park. Located in Imperial Beach, California, at the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States, the park is the site of the initial international borderline established after the U.S.-Mexico War ended in 1848. The park's planners, according to the San Diego Union, envisioned free access to it for people on both sides of the boundary. In her speech, the first lady promised to cross the boundary to shake hands with some of the hundreds of Mexican nationals witnessing her visit. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, she declared, 'I hate to see a fence anywhere.'"
-Joseph Nevins and Timothy Dunn, Counterpunch Nov 14, 2008

Local Luminary: Joseph Nevins
"It is conventional political wisdom in America to secure and fortify the country's borders. Joseph Nevins disagrees. At Vassar College, he teaches courses on geography, mass violence, and the partitioning of the global landscape. Nevins has been conducting interviews and doing research on immigration and the US-Mexico border since the Clinton administration. He is increasingly unsettled by the level of surveillance, fences, underground sensors, weaponry, and laws that comprise the boundary-enforcement apparatus. Today, 338 miles of fencing separate the US and Mexico; the Department of Customs and Border Protection plans to have another 332 miles of fence in place before the end of this year. With a total of 20,000 agents expected by next year, the Border Patrol will have doubled in size since 2001. More than 5,000 migrants have died in attempts to cross the border over the last 10 years; some of them in efforts to return to their US-citizen wives and children. A keen critic of today’s border policies, Nevins powerfully asserts that the more fences we fortify, the more deaths we can expect to see in the borderlands. Produced with the assistance of his partner and wife, photographer Mizue Aizeki, Nevins’s newest book, Dying to Live: A Story of US Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid (2008,City Lights Books), is an examination of how and why the US-Mexico borderlands have become what they are, and a memorial to the many migrants who have lost their lives there."
-Christina Kaminski, Chronogram Magazine Sep 25, 2008

Pat Nixon at the U.S.-Mexico Border
"The death of nine Central American and Mexican migrants in a vehicle crash near Florence, Ariz. on Aug. 9 is only one of the latest grisly manifestations of the mounting toll in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. More than 5,000 bodies have been recovered since the mid-1990s, the "collateral damage" of a war on unauthorized migrants that has led them and their guides to take ever-greater risks to evade the intensifying boundary enforcement apparatus."
-Joseph Nevins, New American Media Aug 21, 2008

Death as a Way of Life
"Esequiel Hernández Jr. was only 18-years-old when Clemente Manuel Banuelos, a U.S. Marine corporal, shot and killed him in Redford, Texas in May 1998. Hernández, a high school student, was the first civilian killed by U.S. troops within national territory since the Kent State massacre of May 1970."
-Joseph Nevins, CounterPunch Jul 27, 2008

Joseph Nevins interviewed on Uprising
Joseph Nevins interviewed on KPFK about immigration and Dying to Live.
-KPFK Los Angeles Jul 23, 2008

Joseph Nevins interviewed on Nightcall with Peter Werbe
"Joseph Nevins, author, Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid, used the death of Julio Cesar Gallegos, who died trying to enter this country illegally, to amplify the larger questions of American immigration policy."
-Peter Werbe, WRIF Detroit Jul 20, 2008

Jim Agnew's Daily Picks
Jim Agnew includes Dying to Live by Joseph Nevins as one of his blog's daily picks.
-Jim Agnew Jul 9, 2008

Global apartheid: Book explores illegal immigration
"Denying people the right to live and work productively amounts to a form of global apartheid, compelling them to take their chances and cross the U.S. border. "
-Silvio J. Panta, Imperial Valley Press Jul 6, 2008

Forced Migration
"As Joseph Nevins points out in his book Dying to Live: A Story of US Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid, the problem with immigration policy, both in the United States and elsewhere in the developed world, is that it is viewed as an issue of law and order, rather than one of human rights."
-John Craig Freeman, John Craig Freeman blog Jun 25, 2008

Dying to Live by Joseph Nevins
"A compelling account of U.S. immigration and border enforcement told through the journey of one man who perished in California's Imperial Valley while trying to reunite with his wife and child in Los Angeles. . . Joseph Nevins and Mizue Aizeki spent several years working on the book, researching and documenting life in southern California, the U.S-Mexico borderlands, and central Mexico."
-Will Kirkland, Ruth Group Jun 25, 2008

Joseph Nevins on "Dying to Live: A Story of US Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid"
"As we mark World Refugee Day, Joseph Nevins traces the human tragedy of immigration across the US-Mexico border."
-Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! Jun 20, 2008

Apartheid's Global Face: From South Africa to the United States
"Fourteen years ago in May, Nelson Mandela assumed the presidency of a democratic South Africa, marking the formal end of the transition from Apartheid. But the shocking reports and images of the recent attacks against immigrants in many of South Africa’s main cities that have left about 50 dead — some of them burned alive — show that apartheid lives on: it is a global one, embedded in the very fabric of a world order predicated on nation-states."
-Joseph Nevins, CommonDreams.org Jun 4, 2008

An Excerpt from Dying to Live by Joseph Nevins
"How and why Julio César Gallegos's ended up on the scorched desert terrain of souther California is the outgrowth of many factors, contingent and structural, incidental and historical. One of the key factors is geography, but not geography as commonly thought of as a relatively static physical landscape or points in global space. Space, like time, is dynamic and ever-changing. While shaped to a significant degree by physical forces, geographic space is largely a social creation in terms of what is contained within it, how it is divided up and bounded, and how it is perceived and lived. It is thus a product of power relations and all the conflict—as well as cooperation—that they entail."
-Joseph Nevins, ZNet May 31, 2008

New Book: Dying to Live
"City Lights has announced the release of Dying to Live A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid by Joseph Nevins, with photographs by Mizue Aizeki, a compelling account of U.S. immigration and border enforcement."
-Immigration Law News May 29, 2008

On Dogs and Illegals
"The public outcry and debate surrounding the July 17 indictment of football star Michael Vick for dogfighting raises many questions. Among them—given the widespread, simultaneous silence surrounding the growing migrant death toll along the U.S.-Mexico boundary—is how concern for the well-being of dogs compares to that for human beings."
-Joseph Nevins, CommonDreams.org Aug 17, 2007

'Illegal Aliens' in Our Midst: What Would Jesus Do?
"With unauthorized immigration a central issue in the presidential campaign and the leading candidates defining themselves as strong adherents to some form of Christianity, the Christmas season is an appropriate time to ask as one person did during the November 28 Republican CNN/YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida, 'What would Jesus do?'

On the heels of that question, which happened to be about capital punishment, someone asked the candidates if they believed every word of the Bible. The three who responded–Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney–indicated in essence that, while one cannot always take the Bible literally, it provides a set of guidelines for how life should be lived. Undoubtedly, the other major candidates–Democrat and Republican alike–would have answered similarly."

-Joseph Nevins, CommonDreams.org Dec 24, 2007