A is for Asylum Seeker: Words for People on the Move

A is for Asylum Seeker

By  Rachel Ida Buff. Re-frames key words that describe people on the move. Written to correct the demeaning of terms by rhetoric and policies based on dehumanization and profitable incarceration, this glossary provides an inter-sectional and historically grounded consideration of the words deployed in an enflamed debate. Skipping some letters of the alphabet while repeating others, thirty terms cover everything from Asylum-seeker to Zero Tolerance Policy. Each entry begins with a contemporary or historical story for illustration and then proceeds to discuss the language politics of the word. The book balances terms affected by current political debates―such as “migrant,” “refugee,” and “illegal alien”―and terms that offer historical context to these controversies, such as “fugitive,” “unhoused,” and “vagrant.” Rendered in both English and Spanish, offers a unique perspective on the journeys, histories, challenges, and aspirations of people on the move. Enhancing the book’s utility as an educational and organizing resource, the author provides a list of works for further reading as well as a directory of immigration-advocacy organizations throughout the United States. Read more.