Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Mothers without Citizenship

Asian Immigrant Families and the Consequences of Welfare Reform

2008
Author:

Lynn Fujiwara

Mothers without Citizenship

An enlightening perspective on welfare policy and its impact on immigrant families

Lynn Fujiwara reveals a neglected aspect of the Asian immigrant story: the ill effects of welfare reform on Asian immigrant women and families. Fujiwara argues that these measures redefined immigrants as outsiders whose lack of citizenship was used to deem them ineligible for public benefits. At once astute policy analysis and insightful research, Mothers without Citizenship offers nuance to the discussion of the consequences of social policy on Asian immigrant communities.

Perceptive and compelling, Mothers Without Citizenship convincingly illustrates how degrading constructions of race, gender, and class demonize poor Southeast Asian refugee women and their families as ‘inassimilable’ foreigners, and therefore, undeserving of citizenship and public assistance. Lynn Fujiwara forces us to rethink how we treat the most vulnerable in our society.

Linda Trinh Vo, author of Mobilizing an Asian American Community

In August 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act that fulfilled his campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it,” and one month later the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act passed, deepening restrictions on immigrant and welfare provisions. These acts harshly and disproportionately affected Asian immigrants who continue to experience the legacy of this legislation today.

Lynn Fujiwara reveals a neglected aspect of the Asian immigrant story: the ill effects of welfare reform on Asian immigrant women and families. Mothers without Citizenship intertwines the issues of social and legal citizenship, arguing that these draconian measures redefined immigrants as outsiders whose lack of citizenship was used to deem them ineligible for public benefits. Fujiwara shows how these people are both a vulnerable, invisible group and active agents of change.

At once astute policy analysis and insightful research, Mothers without Citizenship is a significant contribution to this country’s immigration controversy, offering much-needed nuance to the discussion of the consequences of social policy on Asian immigrant communities and complicating debates solely focused around the politics of the border.

Awards

Association for Asian American Studies - 2008 Book Award in Social Sciences

Mothers without Citizenship

Lynn Fujiwara is assistant professor in the Program of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon.

Mothers without Citizenship

Perceptive and compelling, Mothers Without Citizenship convincingly illustrates how degrading constructions of race, gender, and class demonize poor Southeast Asian refugee women and their families as ‘inassimilable’ foreigners, and therefore, undeserving of citizenship and public assistance. Lynn Fujiwara forces us to rethink how we treat the most vulnerable in our society.

Linda Trinh Vo, author of Mobilizing an Asian American Community

A strongly worded and much-needed counterbalance to consider in the wake of rising anti-immigrant sentiment.

The Midwest Book Review

Calling attention to how the U.S. now considers citizenship as a factor for welfare eligibility, sociologist Fujiwara provides welcome social policy analysis and examines the impacts of welfare reform in the Asian immigrant community. Mothers without Citizenship provides valuable information on the culture of the U.S. welfare system.

Choice

Mothers without Citizenship provides a significant contribution to understanding the way citizenship shapes immigrant welfare provisions and ‘the traumatic impact these political maneuvers has had on Asian immigrant communities.’ Through an intersectional research design, this book challenges dichotomous racial constructions. Mothers without Citizenship is a very useful text and contributes to the intersecting fields of policy studies, women’s studies, and ethnic studies.

Journal of Asian American Studies

Fujiwara provides a complex, detailed, and in-depth analysis of the racialized idea of citizenship hidden in the 1990s immigrant and welfare reforms.

Contemporary Sociology

Fujiwara’s book, methodology and insights invite readers, organizers, community members and mothers to engage with these issues to critique, shape and change the politics towards a better future for Asian American communities.

Critical Sociology