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Kinship Across Borders

A Christian Ethic of Immigration

Kristin E. Heyer

Publication Year: 2012

The failure of current immigration policies in the United States has resulted in dire consequences: a significant increase in border deaths, a proliferation of smuggling networks, prolonged family separation, inhumane raids, a patchwork of local ordinances criminalizing activities of immigrants and those who harbor them, and the creation of an underclass—none of which are appropriate or just outcomes for those holding Christian commitments.

Kinship Across Borders analyzes contemporary US immigration in the context of fundamental Christian beliefs about the human person, sin, family life, and global solidarity. Kristin Heyer expertly demonstrates how current US immigration policies reflect harmful neoliberal economic priorities, and why immigration cannot be reduced to security or legal issues alone. Rather, she explains that immigration involves a broad array of economic issues, trade policies, concerns of cultural tolerance and criminal justice, and, at root, an understanding of the human person.

In Kinship Across Borders, Heyer has developed a Christian immigration ethic—grounded in scriptural, anthropological, and social teachings and rooted in the experiences of undocumented migrants—that calls society to promote concrete practices and policies reflecting justice and solidarity.

Published by: Georgetown University Press


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pp. ix-x

At the outset I wish to recognize reluctant immigrants and their loved ones, as it is their griefs, anxieties, and hopes that inspire this book. For the opportunity to publish the resulting reflections in this series, I am grateful to Richard Brown and Jim Keenan at Georgetown University Press. A valued...

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pp. 1-7

This testimony of an undocumented college student illuminates the impossible choices the contemporary immigration impasse foists upon residents in the United States, even those lucky enough to pursue higher education. In this brief account, questions of earned citizenship and violent...

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1. Christian Anthropology and the De-humanization of Immigrants

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pp. 8-34

Since fortification escalated along the United States–Mexico border in the mid-1990s, deaths of border crossers have occurred at a rate of at least one every twenty-four hours, amounting to a humanitarian crisis that shows little sign of receding. In spite of the economic downturn and drops...

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2. Social Sin and Inhospitality to Immigrants

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pp. 35-60

As chapter 1’s examples illustrate, casualties of unjust immigration policies and practices include a significant increase in border deaths and smuggling networks, prolonged family separation, and the creation of an underclass. By contrast, commitments to welcoming the vulnerable and...

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3. Domestic Church and Threats Facing Immigrant Families

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pp. 61-98

Whereas scholars and politicians frequently frame immigration as a security or economic issue, families and households confront and channel the diverse impacts of migration. Chapter 3 draws upon Christian social ethics and feminist ethics to illuminate immigration as...

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4. Global Solidarity and the Immigration Paradigm

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pp. 99-133

The experiences profiled in chapter 3 bring to light the impact that unconstrained neoliberal policies and inadequate immigration procedures have on women and families, in particular. These mounting threats indicate the deficiencies of an immigration paradigm centered on national interest...

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5. Civic Kinship and Subversive Hospitality: A Christian Immigration Ethic

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pp. 134-171

Following nafta’s failure to deliver returns on Mexican development, the consequent surge in irregular migration was met with an apprehensive- to-hostile reception amid an increasingly divisive political landscape. The events of September 11, 2001, played a role in diverting a binational...


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pp. 173-190


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pp. 191-198

E-ISBN-13: 9781589019317
E-ISBN-10: 1589019318
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589019300
Print-ISBN-10: 158901930X

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 818317932
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Kinship Across Borders

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Emigration and immigration -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
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