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Shaping the Immigration Debate: Contending Civil Societies on the US-Mexico Border

Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman
Shaping the Immigration Debate: Contending Civil Societies on the US-Mexico Border
ISBN: 978-1-935049-46-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-496-6
2012/259 pages/LC: 2011046196
A FirstForumPress Book
"Illustrat[es] the complicated interactions between U.S. citizens and unauthorized immigrants."—Susan Berger, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"[A] valuable book.... Draws renewed attention to the many complexities of the Mexico-US immigration phenomenon.... Raises important questions about the willingness and power of ordinary people to dispute the role of federal authority and, in the process, inform public opinion."—Sarah J. Morando, Ethnic and Racial Studies

"One of the best books I have ever read on immigration and the role that civil society plays on the US-Mexico border region.... Beautifully written, thoughtful, and engaging."—Irasema Coronado, University of Texas at El Paso

"A rich case study and a valuable contribution to the scholarship."—Louis DeSipio, University of California, Irvine


Stories of interactions between unauthorized immigrants crossing the border into Arizona and the US citizens they encounter have made headlines not only in areas adjacent to the border, but across the entire United States. How have these stories, along with adamant members of civil society—those who provide help to travelers in need, as well as those who wish to stop what they see as an invasion of foreigners—shaped public understanding of what happens along the US-Mexico border? And what has this meant for current immigration policy?

Addressing these questions, Cari Eastman explores the relationship among passionate citizen groups in southern Arizona, the messages they promote, and public understanding at the national level of the issues at stake in the immigration debate. Her work encourages thoughtful dialogue, not only about immigration, but also about our own notions of citizenship and belonging.


Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman is an independent scholar focusing on border and immigration issues.


  • Disorder on the Border.
  • Researching Immigration in Arizona.
  • The History of US Immigration.
  • Framing the Border: Boundaries, Illegality, and Civic Engagement.
  • Shaping the National Debate.
  • Media and Civil Society: Walking the Line Together.
  • Nationalist Sentiment and Mediated Messages.
  • Pulpits, Patriotism, and the Press: How Love of God and Love of Country Motivate Action.
  • Bringing Order to the Border: Capturing Public Attention.
  • Reflecting Back, Looking Ahead.