Immigration Matters

Movements, Visions, and Strategies for a Progressive Future

A provocative, strategic plan for a humane immigration system from the nation’s leading immigration scholars and activists

Immigration Matters draws together the leading voices on immigration and immigrant rights to offer a cogent pathway forward to fix a tragically broken immigration system.” —Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University

During the past decade, right-wing nativists have stoked popular hostility to the nation’s foreign-born population, forcing the immigrant rights movement into a defensive posture. In the Trump years, preoccupied with crisis upon crisis, advocates had few opportunities to consider questions of long-term policy or future strategy. Now is the time for a reset.

Immigration Matters offers a new, actionable vision for immigration policy. It brings together key movement leaders and academics to share cutting-edge approaches to the urgent issues facing the immigrant community, along with fresh solutions to vexing questions of so-called “future flows” that have bedeviled policy makers for decades. The book also explores the contributions of immigrants to the nation’s identity, its economy, and progressive movements for social change. Immigration Matters delves into a variety of topics including new ways to frame immigration issues, fresh thinking on key aspects of policy, challenges of integration, workers’ rights, family reunification, legalization, paths to citizenship, and humane enforcement.

The perfect handbook for immigration activists, scholars, policy makers, and anyone who cares about one of the most contentious issues of our age, Immigration Matters makes accessible an immigration policy that both remediates the harm done to immigrant workers and communities under Trump and advances a bold new vision for the future.


“The future of the labor movement—and the country—depends significantly on immigrants and immigration. This crucial collection points the way to a convergence of social movements to achieve lasting power for working people.”
—Mary Kay Henry, president, Service Employees International Union
“Lucid and well-organized. . . . Each essay is packed with useful information and based on decades of experience. Progressive lawmakers and immigration activists will find this to be a valuable resource.”
Publishers Weekly
“Donald Trump took a hammer to the U.S. immigration system, and in doing so exposed its inhumane and racist scaffolding. The Biden-Harris administration has an unprecedented opportunity to transform the system into one that reflects the best of American values. These thoughtful essays point them—and us—in the right direction.”
—Lorella Praeli, vice president, Community Change
“For too long, politicians have stoked nativism and weaponized our immigration system to divide people. Democrats and progressives shouldn’t be afraid to put forward a bold, forward-thinking vision for immigration that is rooted in common sense and compassion, instead of cruelty. Immigration Matters helps illuminate that vision and provides a path forward for achieving it.”
—Julián Castro, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2014–2017)
“The pandemic helped us see many things we must never forget, such as the essential role of immigrants in every aspect of American life. Now that we see, we must act to ensure a future that is fully inclusive of immigrants. This wonderful book tells us how.”
—Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations

News and Reviews


For more about Immigration Matters, checkout this Linktree to read excerpts, listen to interviews, and read op-eds.

Author Interview

Read a Q&A interview with editors Ruth Milkman, Deepak Bhargava, and Penny Lewis.

Book Trailer

Watch the book trailer for Immigration Matters to find out more about the book and the new, actionable vision for immigration policy it offers.

Goodreads Reviews