Read More, Learn More – June 2012 Book List

Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang (IVP Books, 2009)

Immigration is one of the most complicated issues of our time. Voices on all sides argue strongly for action and change. Christians find themselves torn between the desire to uphold laws and the call to minister to the vulnerable. In this book World Relief staffers Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang move beyond the rhetoric to offer a Christian response to immigration. With careful historical understanding and thoughtful policy analysis, they debunk myths and misconceptions about immigration and show the limitations of the current immigration system. Ultimately they point toward immigration reform that is compassionate, sensible and just, as they offer concrete ways for you and your church to welcome and minister to your immigrant neighbors.

About the Author: Matthew Soerens is Board of Immigration Appeals-accredited immigration and citizenship counselor at World Relief DuPage in Wheaton, Illinois.
Jenny Hwang is director of advocacy and policy for the Refugee and Immigration Program of World Relief in Baltimore, Maryland.

Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration by Miguel A. De La Torre (Orbis Books, 2009)

A collection of stories from pastors, theologians, and immigrants themselves, providing a range of perspectives on the immigration issue.

About the Author: Miguel A. De La Torre (born October 6, 1958) is an associate-professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology, a religious scholar, author, and an ordained minister. Born in Cuba months before the Castro Revolution, De La Torre and his family migrated to the United States as refugees when he was an infant. At nineteen years of age he began a real estate company in Miami. De La Torre dissolved the thirteen-year-old real estate company in 1992 to attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in order to obtain a Masters in Divinity and enter the ministry. During his seminary training he served as pastor at a rural congregation. He obtained a doctorate from Temple University in social ethics in 1999.

Since obtaining his doctorate, De La Torre has authored numerous articles and books, including several books that have won national awards, specifically: Reading the Bible from the Margins, (Orbis, 2002); Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004); and Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, (Orbis, 2004).

Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America by Helen Thorpe (Scribner, 2011)

A powerful and moving account of four young women from Mexico who have lived most of their lives in the United States and attend the same high school. Two of them have legal documentation and two do not. Just Like Us is their story.

In this stunning work of in-depth journalism, Helen Thorpe takes us deep into an American subculture — that of Mexican immigrants — largely hidden from the mainstream. This brilliant, fast-paced work of narrative journalism is a vivid coming-of-age story about girlhood, friendship, and, most of all, identity — what it means to fake an identity, steal an identity, or inherit an identity from one’s parents and country. No matter what one’s opinions are about immigration, Just Like Us offers fascinating insight into one of our most complicated social issues today. The girls, their families, those who welcome them, and those who object to their presence all must grapple with the same deep dilemma: Who is an American? Who gets to live in America? And what happens when we don’t agree?

About the Author: Helen Thorpe is a freelance journalist whose magazine stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, Texas Monthly, Westword, and 5280. Thorpe has worked for The New York Observer; The New Yorker, where she wrote “Talk of the Town” stories; and Texas Monthly.

Born in London, she grew up in Medford, New Jersey, and now lives in Denver, Colorado. Thorpe is married to John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver, and they have one son. She currently serves on the boards of two non-profit organizations that focus on ensuring the success of all children, particularly those who are growing up in poverty (the Clayton Foundation and the Colorado Children’s Campaign). Just Like Us is her first book.

Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and How They Will Save the American Worker) by Richard T. Herman and Robert L. Smith (Wiley, 2009)

The question of what to do about illegal immigration stokes enough emotion and controversy to silence civil discussion. Lost in the contentious debate over immigration reform, tragically, has been the impact of legal immigrants and their remarkable success in the New Economy. The companies founded by immigrants stand as icons of the era: Google, Intel, Yahoo, Hotmail, Sun Microsystems, YouTube, and eBay. And those are just the superstars. From university laboratories to urban neighborhoods, from Silicon Valley to the Rust Belt, immigrants are playing key roles as innovators and job creators.

Consider that:

  • Today’s immigrants are nearly twice as likely as non-immigrants to launch a business.
  • Immigrant founders are behind more than half of the high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley.
  • Immigrants have become more likely than native-born Americans to earn an advanced degree, to invent something, and to be awarded a U.S. patent.

Do these immigrants have a secret? It’s a culture, actually. A culture of entrepreneurship that stems from education, thrift, family loyalty, and ambition. Many of today’s immigrants arrive ready-made to perform in a knowledge-based, global economy. They are world-class strivers who drop into capitalist America like seeds into the good earth. And they bloom here, creating businesses and jobs at astonishing rates. Immigrant, Inc. explains how immigrants have become America’s competitive advantage in a global economy and warns of the perils of losing that advantage, especially as the nation seeks to pull out of a great recession.

With personal stories of immigrant journeys, the authors reveal the passions motivating America’s immigrant achievers, their success strategies, and their power to revive communities and create new industries. Both a revelation and a call-to-action, Immigrant, Inc. reveals how you can join the new age of innovation—by thinking and acting like an immigrant. Immigrant, Inc. is a book that will forever change the way you look at immigrants…and America.

About the Author: Richard T. Herman is the founder of Richard T. Herman & Associates, an immigration and business law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, which serves a global clientele in over ten languages. He is the co-founder of a chapter of TiE, a global network of entrepreneurs started in 1992 in Silicon Valley. He has appeared on ABC’s 20/20, National Public Radio, Fox News, and various affiliates of NBC, CBS, and ABC. He has also been quoted in such publications as USA TodayInformationWeekPC WorldComputerworldCIOSite Selection, and National Lawyers Weekly.

Robert L. Smith is a veteran journalist who covers international cultures and immigration for The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper. He has written extensively about immigration issues and has interviewed people at all points of the immigrant experience, from undocumented field workers to millionaire entrepreneurs.

Discussion Questions


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