The Devil's Highway Thesis

Words: 539
Pages: 3

Throughout history, humans have always been afraid of the different. Anything that is not like one’s culture is strange and frightening. In the twenty-first century, the issue of illegal immigration has revived the fear and fright of immigrants. In the book “The Devil’s Highway” by Luis Alberto Urrea, Urrea tells the story of how two dozen illegal immigrants are abandoned after they cross the U.S. border and left to die. The story shows and challenges the negative connotations of illegal immigration. In the work, Urrea describes that although Americans were immigrants themselves, they challenge the legitimacy of other people trying to come into the country.
To demonstrate America’s long history of discrimination against immigrants, Urrea uses the example of Chinese workers who were brought to the U.S. from Mexico in order to help build railroads during the Civil War. Since they were cheap labor, thousands of illegal Chinese immigrants moved to the United States. Urrea states, “Americans panicked at the ‘yellowing’ of America” (8). As panic erupted, the Chinese were deported. Urrea uses this piece of history to parallel with the current situation in the United States, where Americans
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As the U.S. declared war on Japan, the Japanese-Americans suffered the consequences. Government agents followed suspicious people and enforced curfews and home raids. Two months after the bombing, Executive Order 9066 was enacted, leading to the forced evacuation of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans. However, the order never explicitly targets Japanese-Americans; it only states that military commanders can designate “military areas” where people can be “excluded.” Even though around two-thirds were American citizens, the Japanese-Americans were forced to live in internment camps on the West Coast. These camps were a form of deportation that the “coolies” had experienced decades