In an age of brutal anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy, This Land is Our Land offers a meticulously researched and deeply felt corrective to the public narrative of who today’s migrants are, why they are coming, and what economic and historical forces have propelled them from their homes into faraway lands ... reads like an impassioned survey course on migration, laying bare the origins of mass migration in searing clarity ... The book makes a convincing argument that contemporary migration is a direct descendant of colonialism ...is, in large part, a case for reparations ... Must we read such obvious truths? Perhaps we must.
A stirring manifesto for immigrant rights, it's also much more. The book is an invaluable reference aid, compiling rich data and statistics on every angle of the refugee crisis – from the crime rates of undocumented migrants to the dollar value of their contribution to the economy. What's the price-tag of reparations? What's the cost of colonialism? The book is a relentless source of data which unpacks and refutes the thoroughly untrue arguments driving white panic about refugees ... an unapologetic, angry manifesto supporting the rights of migrants to move ... The unapologetic firmness of Mehta's articulate arguments is refreshing ... among the most comprehensive, clearest, lucid and persuasive arguments in favour of immigrant rights yet written. It's vital reading for anyone looking for arguments and data to unmuddy the rhetorics of white panic, and indeed vital reading or anyone who cares about the future of our world.
With scathing wit, [Mehta] points out hypocrisies ... moves at a faster clip, with arguments backed by examples that skip from country to country within a single chapter. With this overview, he’s covering much ground, literal and historical, and some readers may wish Mehta could have lingered in places or followed the fates of migrants we meet only briefly ... As the country heads into the 2020 presidential election, Mehta’s moving, cogent book can help us find a way forward.
[Mehta] turns himself, in effect, into a one-man witness-bearing machine. It is harrowing, heartbreaking, detailed work that does what it sets out to do: illuminate the predicament of specific persons in a universal ethical light ... Mehta’s book is filled with arresting human particulars, but its theoretical thrust can be compressed into three main propositions ... Mehta’s vision is radically redistributive, but it will be received with suspicion by the patriotic left ... This pragmatic approach is not without its contradictions ... It could also be said, of course, that Mehta is dismissive of the cultural and economic anxieties of the host population. But that is precisely his intention: to dismiss the concerns of white natives about having brown foreigners in their midst. Either their concerns are racist and accordingly without merit, or their concerns have some merit, but not as much merit as the concerns of migrants ... A valuable feature of Mehta’s argument is that it is procedurally radical. It rejects the programmatic self-doubt that is central to American liberalism—and, arguably, central to its defeat by its Republican adversaries, who without hesitation embrace self-righteousness, domination, and the fait accompli.
The book is a defiant manifesto of human rights for all immigrants, a category that includes Mehta’s own family. It is also an extended, angry plea directed toward President Trump and all who mimic him ... What does not seem likely to convince them are Mehta’s pro-immigration arguments: the benefits for a country’s economy or to one’s otherwise boring life from being exposed to a diverse culture ... It’s hard to imagine someone who hates immigrants being persuaded by the joys and benefits of multiculturalism, no matter how many thoughtful statistics Mehta deploys ... Mehta fills in the blanks. He tells a bloody, traumatic story, and one no Western reader will feel proud of, though there can also be a strange comfort in understanding the logic of the present. History might be the best weapon against fear ... Mehta remains strong and convincing when he methodically plots his historical argument.
... more than just the usual homage to the narrative of America as a land of immigrants ... Mehta is an adept reporter...he stokes righteous anger with images of mistreatment of immigrants ... the power of such images and the strength of the argument for reparations are also the book’s undoing. Despite Mehta’s qualifier that he is calling for open hearts and not open borders, he is unlikely to change minds with this one. Those who pick it up are likely already convinced of his case. Those who disagree with him are unlikely to open the book.
... [a] passionate jeremiad ... In tackling migration, Mehta syncretises a host of global issues with jaw-dropping stats, trends and histories ... Mehta’s polemic was met with death threats in the US this summer, but globally, it has gathered momentum. One wishes, at the Serbian-Hungarian border, he had paid more attention to south-central Europe’s militarised migrant camps, but this punchy, opinionated speed-read is an eye-opening primer on a radioactive topic; and is often very beautifully written.
There are few literary voices today who explore the intricacies of human migration better than Suketu Mehta ... Mehta delivers an emotional, timely polemic railing against this trend of fear, discrimination and hatred that has gripped so many countries, especially ours ... a heroic effort to dispel racist, destructive myths surrounding immigration ...
Pulling from history, personal experiences and intimate profiles, Mehta examines the backlash to immigration, what’s behind it and why we have good reasons to be hopeful about the future.
... a defiant rallying cry in favor of immigration ... It is a provocative and seductive polemic by design, buttressed by statistics, reporting and a powerful personal narrative. For this immigrant reader, the results are variable ... I admire Mehta’s defense of the fundamental humanity and dignity of migrants ... I couldn’t agree more with his emphasis on how the immigration panic today is 'raced' and fueled by painful caricatures and cultural stereotypes ... And yet as I read his book, I found myself questioning the prospects—and the efficacy—of an argument that frames immigration as reparations ... his central premise that migration is the right of the colonized—and the debt owed by Western oppression—seems tailor-made to antagonize rather than advance the already broken conversation ... There are many mic-drop moments and eminently quotable lines such as this throughout This Land Is Our Land. It is a blistering argument that earns its place in this emotional debate. In a news climate dominated by opponents of immigration, Mehta brings personal, postcolonial and global anguish to a broader American readership ... Manifestos and anthems, regardless of their political orientation, are a call to arms, not to resolution.
In arguing for immigration as a form of reparations for harm done in the past, [Mehta] consciously takes a cue from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s writing on the debt owed African-Americans for slavery ... This Land not only bares teeth, but bites ... If there is a fully-rounded character in This Land, it is Mehta himself. As narrator, he emerges as comprehensively analytical and trenchant, full of pointed epigrams; perhaps too willing sometimes to lean into the model minority narrative to argue the case for immigrants; relatively privileged but for the most part aware of his privilege and indulgent occasionally of a male gaze ... Mehta is brave and generous enough to be personal with his readers, mining his own life as professor, father, brother, son ... This Land is Mehta’s expression of rage at the cynical exploitation of inequality.
... heavily researched and passionately argued ... An immigrant himself, Mehta weights his personal, readable manifesto with history and data. The result is profoundly disturbing, convincing, clear-eyed, and hopeful.
Mehta displays his flair for evocative storytelling in this passionate argument for migration ... Mehta’s vantage point shifts often: in his prose, 'we' can mean 'Americans, in the generic sense,' 'myself and my children and my uncles and cousins,' migrants in general, or certain kinds of migrants (for example, college-educated highly skilled workers or refugees). While every scene is a joy to read, and Mehta’s passion lights his prose throughout, this work will probably appeal most to those who already agree with its premise.