Vol. 32 No. 2 (February 2022) pp. 17-19

THREAT OF DISSENT: A HISTORY OF IDEOLOGICAL EXCLUSION AND DEPORTATION IN THE UNITED STATES, by Julia Rose Kraut. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2020. pp. 352. Cloth $35.00. ISBN 978-0-674-97606-1.

Reviewed by Ivanka H. Bergova, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University. Email:

Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential candidacy, and later Presidency, brought deportation and ideological exclusion to the forefront of U.S. domestic policy. Immigrants in the United States are no strangers to deportation and exclusion based on ideological grounds. The threat of deportation that historically loomed over immigrants and naturalized citizens continues to linger. The U.S. has a long history of deporting immigrants, naturalized citizens, and the descendants of immigrants. This history goes as far back as the late 1700s when Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The Acts authorized the U.S. government to deport non-citizens believed to pose a threat to national security. The Acts marked the beginning of a series of legislation targeted at deporting and excluding immigrants from the U.S. for their ideological beliefs. THREAT OF DISSENT: A HISTORY OF IDEOLOGICAL EXCLUSION AND DEPORTATION IN THE UNITED STATES offers a unique understanding of the relationship between ideological exclusion, deportation, and political dissent in the U.S.

Julia Kraut argues that immigrants' deportation and ideological exclusion result from political fears of subversion. For the United States, this fear is constant. As a country with a high inflow of immigrants, the presence of foreigners increases the threats of subversion. By exploiting the vulnerabilities of foreigners and foreign residents — namely deportation and ideological exclusion — the U.S. attempts to eliminate internal threats to the country's political structure. Accordingly, Kraut contends that deportation and ideological suppression act as tools of political repression, reflecting the country's political interests. Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, the U.S. government continuously used these tools of political repression to suppress dissenting voices that criticized the country, its law, its economic policies, and its foreign and domestic policies. With the support of Congress and the courts, political repression took root in U.S. immigration laws. In particular, the U.S. courts helped maintain the use of deportation and ideological exclusion to suppress dissent for both citizens and noncitizens.

The book consists of eight chapters, and each offers an overview of different historical periods in the U.S. Kraut opens the book with the political turmoil facing the U.S. in the late 1700s. Next, the book focuses on the anti-anarchist movement in the country leading up to World War I. The following chapters turn their attention to the Great Depression and the Cold War. In the book's final chapter, Kraut focuses on the impact of the War on Terror and the Trump Presidency on deportations and ideological exclusions.

To support the argument put forth in the book, Kraut examines major political events throughout U.S. history through the lens of historical analysis. The book begins in the late 1700s with the dual crisis facing the newly formed country. Concerns over political dissent and criticism of the government, especially by foreign nationals, led to four monumental pieces of immigration legislation. All four Acts became the U.S. government's early instruments to suppress political dissent. Next, the analysis turns to the anarchist movement in the U.S. and abroad. Public concern over anarchism led the U.S. government to focus on excluding certain immigrants and suppressing anarchist speech. Turning to World War I, the author highlights the ideological restrictions passed by Congress, the government's growing deportation efforts, and judicial deference to immigration officials. Moving on to the Great Depression, Kraut focuses her analysis on deportation and denaturalization during the emergence of the anti-Communist movement in the U.S. The analysis pays special attention to the involvement of the federal courts in immigration matters. Turning to the Cold War, the author focuses on the government's use of ideological exclusion, deportation, and denaturalization to suppress political dissent. Once again, Kraut's analysis highlights the growing role of the federal courts in ideological deportation and denaturalization cases. Lastly, Kraut turns to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the Trump Presidency. The author points out the government's strengthened efforts to quash political dissent through ideological exclusion, deportation, and denaturalization.

Overall, Kraut offers a comprehensive historical analysis in support of the author's argument. Throughout each chapter, Kraut provides an extensive discussion of the U.S. government's use of ideological exclusion, deportation, and denaturalization to suppress political dissent. Each chapter offers a thorough historical overview of how ideological exclusion and deportation became the government's main tools for suppressing political subversion. Kraut pays special attention to the stories of individual immigrants facing deportation and nationals seeking to protect free speech. The author also provides a comprehensive summary of the relationship between the three branches of government in immigration, emphasizing the federal court's role. Shortly after the country's inception, the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned the federal government's power over immigration and insulated itself from providing substantive judicial review. Over time, the federal courts continued to defer to the executive branch in immigration matters. However, in several instances, the courts acknowledged the danger of that deference.

The author's argument is well supported and articulated throughout the book. However, it seems that there is a second argument regarding the court's role in immigration that lingers in the book's background. In the first chapter of the book, Kraut lays out the significance of the plenary power doctrine and the Supreme Court's deference to the Executive branch's control over immigration. Throughout the book, Kraut continuously refers to the influence of the plenary power doctrine and the federal courts in immigration but does not offer more depth on their impact. As Kraut demonstrates in the book, the Supreme Court maintains deference to the executive branch in immigration matters. Although the Supreme Court maintains this deference, the author points out recent instances where Justices made attempts to move away from this deference. As noted by Kraut, these attempts were largely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the court's inability to move away from its deference to the Executive in immigration matters warrants further discussion. Overall, this book provides a clear and well-researched explanation of the relationship between immigration and political dissent in the U.S. The author offers a detailed analysis and discussion on how the federal government began to use ideological exclusion, deportation, and denaturalization to subvert political dissent in the U.S. The book is a much-needed addition to immigration scholarship for two reasons. First, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between deportation and political dissent throughout U.S. history. Second, the book provides a better understanding of the federal court's role in immigration and its relationship with the executive branch regarding immigration. Scholars and students of immigration will find the book valuable. For scholars, the book illustrates the close relationship between political dissent and ideological exclusion and deportation. For students, the book offers a thorough overview of U.S. immigration history and the federal government's use of ideological exclusion and detention as a means of subverting political dissent.

© Copyright 2022 by author, Ivanka H. Bergova.