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Nicholas A. Banta
Professor Marie Lo
University Studies 102A
1 February 2015
Interview with Daniel Kanstroom
Nick Banta: Mr. Kanstroom, thank you for joining me today. I want to discuss the issue
of deportation that you discussed in your book, Deportation Nation. If you dont mind,
well go ahead and begin the interview.
Daniel Kanstroom: No, absolutely! Thank you for having me here!
NB: Okay, to start off, there are certain things that most would agree immigrants in the
United States should be deported for. What do you believe are reasonable grounds for
the deportation of immigrants in the United States?
DK: While I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live here in the United
States if they so choose, it is also my belief that immigrant felons charged with violent
crimes in the first or second degree-- first degree meaning that they conducted the act
themselves, and second degree meaning they had an immediate role in helping conduct
the act --should be deported for their crimes. If an immigrant decides to become a
citizen of the United States, and then decides to commit serious crimes against their
newfound brothers and sisters, then there should be reason for deportation. With the
way that the United States deportation system is set up now, any felony charge is
grounds for deportation, whether its violent or not. Immigrants can be deported for
something as small as shoplifting. Another issue with the system that I discussed is that
deportation can occur if an immigrant doesnt exhibit or support American values.

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Historically, and even today, there are hundreds of thousands of U.S.-born citizens that
dont even support their own country, so why is this an issue for immigrants? It is
because the decision to deport an individual is a discretionary decision rather than a
ground rule-- a decision made equally for all immigrants. Immigrants are deported
based on fear, or even suspicion-- some are even deported because they look
undocumented --which has no solid evidence backing real grounds for deportation. If
you look at recent events involving the pending deportation of immigrants, specifically
those with money, wealthy immigrants are much less likely, if at all, to be deported.
Take, for example, Justin Bieber, a rather-- shall I say --well-known Canadian immigrant.
He has faced multiple felony charges that would have gotten him deported under
current laws had he not been a wealthy, white immigrant. His charges, which were
dropped to misdemeanors due to his social status, included unarmed robbery,
vandalism, and drug possession. Other examples dont even require wealth, they just
require white skin. Lesser felony charges among white U.S. citizens are dealt with
minimal prison time and a slap on the wrist. Often times, with such minimal punishment,
these felons become repeat offenders, yet they get to remain in society rather than
being thrown out.
NB: Moving on, you say that the United States is not, in fact, the classical ideology of a
melting pot or stir-fry, as you put it. If you could put the United States into your own
metaphorical perspective, what would it be?
DK: Well, if you read a little further after that youll notice that I state that the United
States is rather an assertion, development, and refinement of centralized, well-focused,
and often quite harsh government power. While writing that, the word refinement really

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stuck with me. If you look up the word refinement in the dictionary, the literal definition
reads the removal of impurities or unwanted elements from a substance, typically as
part of an industrial process. Now, if you take that definition a little further, think about
what happens in a refinery: metal ore like gold, silver, iron, and so on are melted down
in giant furnaces. While this sounds much like the classical melting pot metaphor that
everyone loves so much, that is very much not the case. Impurities such as dirt and
lesser metals are then separated and removed from the pure, desired metals. What you
are left with is the beauty of gold or silver, or the strength of iron. This image of strength
and beauty is what America is trying to portray. That is how I would metaphorically
classify the United States; as a refinery. People from all over the world flock here with
dreams of a better life and eternal freedom. They climb into the furnace, and sure
enough, they are melted together with the rest of the United States citizens, but after
time they are filtered out of the mixture and removed completely. They arent desirable
in American culture.
NB: Finally, you discussed how the deportation system has changed throughout U.S.
history with the desires of American citizens. Why do you believe that these different
groups are targeted for deportation at different points in history? How can this change?
DK: What it all comes down to is fear, plain and simple. I talked in my book a little bit
about the governments historical frustration over well-known criminals such as Lucky
Luciano who, it just so happens, was a racial minority. The public was taught to fear
these criminals, and along with the fear of their crimes came the fear of others that
shared their race. More modernly, you have international criminals like Osama Bin
Laden, who committed heinous atrocities against the people of the United States. He,

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and others from the Al-Qaeda terrorist group stemmed the fear of Arab and Muslim
Americans, who became the next target for deportation. However, crime isnt the only
fear that causes immigrants to become targets of deportation. The most well-known
example, and the most recent targets for deportation are hispanic immigrants. The fear
in this case is that hispanics immigrating to the United States will take up a large chunk
of the workforce and wont contribute equally to society. The biggest flaw to this whole
idea is all of the Americans currently living off of welfare, food stamps, and
unemployment, who are completely fine with not working and still receiving money from
the government. Hispanic immigrants, whether they entered the country legally or
illegally, are already a huge contribution to society. There are around 25 million
immigrant workers in the United States workforce today. Nearly 13 million of those
immigrants are hispanic immigrants in the American workforce. Thats over eight
percent of the total American workforce, immigrant and U.S.-born combined. 7 million of
those 25 million immigrant workers are in the United States illegally, but are still
providing goods and services to the American public. If that doesnt scream contribution,
I dont know what does. Another example of fear influencing the desires of United States
citizens is what happened to the Japanese during World War II. At the start of the United
States involvement in World War II, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066,
which authorized the deportation and incarceration of any and all people. Well, nearly
all of those people just so happened to be Japanese immigrants along the West Coast
of the United States. Some of them included U.S.-born Japanese-Americans. Those
that werent deported entirely were placed in internment camps up and down the West
Coast. All of this stemmed from the fear that any Japanese-American citizen or

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immigrant could be involved in another Pearl Harbor-esque attack on U.S. soil. A more
recent example of this was in 2002, shortly after the September 11th attacks in 2001,
when 700 Middle Eastern men were detained in Los Angeles and forced to be
photographed, fingerprinted, and questioned by the Immigration and Naturalization
Service. Most of those men were released, but information about those not released
was never disclosed. This parallels the fears expressed after the Pearl Harbor attack.
Non-citizens, and sometimes even citizens, are deported or detained indefinitely if they
fall outside of what Americans see as normal. In regards to changing the flow of
history and getting rid of this fear, what people need to realize is that the actions and
ideals of the few dont always reflect those of the many. We are so quick to cast out
those that have different ideas or those that act differently than us, and we are even
quicker to cast out those that act against us. If America wants to uphold the melting
pot standard that it holds so dearly, we need to understand that different ideas, different
cultures, and especially different skin colors are going to be thrown into the mix.
NB: Well, Mr. Kanstroom, its been a pleasure speaking with you. Youve provided some
great insight into the issues we are currently facing with the United States deportation
system. Thanks again for joining me today!