The Border Fence in U.S. Immigration History
Fences exclude, but they also enclose. Using the controversy over the fence that marks our border with Mexico as a starting point, this presentation discusses how Americans have set themselves apart from those admitted as immigrants.
Martin Ford traces the immigration history of the U.S. from colonial times through the great waves of trans-Atlantic migration in the 19th and 20th centuries to the current influx of newcomers from Latin America and Asia. He uses the idea of "mental fences"-attitudes about inclusion and division-to describe the ways Americans have resisted the inclusion of immigrants. He explores how immigrants have expanded our notions of what it means to be American and how the U.S. has become perhaps the most inclusive country in the world.
Martin Ford is Associate Director at the Maryland Office for Refugees and Aslyees (MORA) and former Executive Director of the Maryland Ethnic Heritage Commission. He has taught at Bowie State University and Towson University and was a Fulbright scholar in Liberia. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from SUNY-Binghamton, an M.A. in International Studies from Ohio University, and a B.A. in English Literature from Rutgers University.