Beacon Press: Illegal People
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Illegal People

How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

Author: David Bacon

A veteran photojournalist explores the human side of globalization and argues for new ways to think about and legislate around immigration

For two decades David Bacon has documented the connections between labor, migration, and the global economy. In Illegal People he explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, migration, immigration raids, and an increasingly divided and polarized society. Arguing for a sea change in how we think, debate, and legislate about and around immigration, Bacon promotes a human rights perspective in a globalized world.
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“Bacon’s timely analysis is as cool and competent as his labor advocacy is unapologetic. In mapping the political economy of migration, with an unwavering eye on the rights and dignity of working people, Bacon offers an invaluable corrective to America’s hobbled discourse on immigration and a spur to genuine, creative action.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A fascinating look at trade and immigration policies and the people directly affected by them.”-

“David Bacon is the conscience of American journalism and an extraordinary social documentarist.” —Mike Davis

Illegal People documents how undocumented workers have become the world’s most exploited workforce-subject to raids and arrests, forced to work at low pay and under miserable conditions, and prevented from organizing on their own behalf. In this richly reported book, David Bacon makes a powerful case for the centrality of ‘illegals’-of all nationalities-in the global struggle for economic justice.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

“From the Hawaiian sugar plant organizing drives of the 1930s to the 2007 miners’ strike in the Sonoran Desert, Bacon chronicles the struggles and lives of Mexican, Guatemalan, Filipino, Indian and Salvadoran workers . . . [and] unabashedly writes as an advocate. The result is refreshing.” —Gary Delgado, ColorLines

“David Bacon’s book . . . demonstrates that there is hope, and we can win something better, today, not just for immigrants, but for all working people!”
—Dolores Huerta, cofounder of United Farm Workers


Review: The Huffington Post - July 15, 2009
Illegal People is a deep political analysis elucidating on migration and why it has increased in the context of globalization, while at the same time humanizing migrants, a much-needed approach. Bacon's solid journalistic skills seamlessly depict the human face of pain, sweat, work and death of migrants behind his serious analyses and theories . . . the independent work of David Bacon and his book Illegal People represents an island of rationality in a sea of tumult.”

  • Click here to read an interview with David Bacon featured on

  • Read an article by David Bacon from the San Francisco Chronicle on immigration

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Illegal People

ISBN: 978-080704230-4
Publication Date: 6/1/2009
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $18.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.