Several stores, including Target, Walgreens, and, offered an “Illegal Alien” costume for sale.  The costume, which includes a orange (prison?) jumpsuit, a green card, and a space alien mask, conflates undocumented immigrants with aliens from outer space.


After a round of criticism, Target pulled its “Illegal Alien” costume from its shelves.

Hat tip to Lotería Chicana, via Resist Racism.


Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Found at Gin and Tacos.


Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


This image from the FAIL blog nicely illustrates the distinction between tanning to have darker skin and being born with darker skin– when is dark skin acceptable/desirable and when isn’t it? Presumably, this advertisement comes from somewhere near the U.S./Mexico border, and although it is probably meant to be funny, the point it makes is real. A white person (the blond pictured in the ad) can tan until they’re dark– which is acceptable and often highly desirable (which still surprises me in the day and age of skin cancer). But, getting a very dark tan, or being born with darker skin in the first place, means that near the border you might be “held by security” (although with the blond on the billboard, I doubt that mistake would be made).

And here are some images of desirable tans from tanning company websites:



I found this graph illustrating levels of migration to several countries from 1960-65 to 2000-05 at the Migration Policy Institute:


Keep in mind, these are total numbers, not weighted by the size of the population of each country, so a country with a relatively small number of migrants compared to other countries may have a much larger percent of the population made up of migrants. But it is interesting to see the increases and decreases of migration over time in each country. The large increase in immigration to Spain especially caught my attention; see also our post on Spain’s voluntary return policy.

Other posts on immigration: the “Muslim demographic threat”, immigration and spouses, volunteer U.S. border guards, the “Battle for Britain”, refugees, immigration streams to the U.S., a horrid Border Patrol video game, Asian Americans and marriage, refugees in the U.S., anti-Puerto Rican statehood movement, pro-environment anti-immigration video, early German assimilation in the U.S., do immigrants work harder?, Muslims in Europe, world stats, and emigration from Mexico.

Danielle C. sent us a video about “Muslim demographics.” When I saw the title, I assumed it was just a basic informational video about the Muslim population. Oh, indeed not:

There are so many things going on there, I’m having trouble knowing where to start. I’m going to just sidestep the many demographic assertions thrown at us, though readers may have thoughts there. It is interesting how the presence of Muslims is associated with the idea of an Islamic state–at about 3:20 the narrator says that Muslim population growth will turn France into an “Islamic Republic” by 2039 or so. But a Muslim population is not the same as an Islamic republic–one is a religious population, the other is a form of government, and they don’t automatically go together, as, say, Turkey might illustrate.

Also notice the explicit assumption that Muslims are inherently bad and that a country with an increasing Muslim population is automatically in danger (as well as the clear assumption about who “we” and “our” children and grandchildren are). In fact, while the word “immigration” is usually used in a threatening tone of voice in the video, apparently the threat from the Muslim hordes is sufficient that we may even have to accept the need for Latino immigrants, since they may be the only group that can save the U.S. for ending up like Europe, which is a lost cause already.

From the folks at Good Magazine, a “look at the 20 countries from which the most people came to America in 2008,” including how many were immediate relatives of US citizens, and how many received asylum, based on data from the Department of Homeland Security.


Does anyone know why data from North Korea and South Korea is combined? How can country be “unknown” for so many?

Ryan sent in a story about the video game Border Patrol, in which you try to keep three types of Mexicans from crossing the border: drug dealers, Mexican nationalists, and “breeders,” who are of course pregnant women on their way to the welfare office:


According to Kotaku,  a city representative in Georgia emailed it to colleagues with the following note:

THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes you feel better anyway, I did my part today, I kept a few from coming over!!! GET READY —- THEY ARE FAAAST! ! !


And the Star of David on the American flag is a nice touch.

NOTE: A number of commenters have made various suggestions about what the Star of David might mean–support for Israel, a conflation of Jewish and Christian values as “American,” etc. I don’t know for sure, but my best guess is that it’s an added little bit of racism. If a few of my relatives are any indication, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic sentiments often seem to go well together. One of my relatives who is virulently anti-immigrant also once gave my mom a video to watch and when she turned it on she realized it was this anti-Semitic thing about how Jews are trying to institute a New World Order. So I tend to think it’s supposed to indicate, as one commenter said, that the U.S. has been weakened and taken over by ineffectual liberalized Jews who are letting all the immigrants in as part of their master plan to….well, I don’t really know what the master plan is. I will see if I can find out when I visit my family members and let you know so we can all prepare. Or, for our Jewish readers, take part, I guess. Oh, wait, duh. Our Jewish readers already know. I forgot. One of my long-lost relatives from Arkansas explained to my mom how Jews communicate through all the symbols on packaging (you know, like TM, (R), and so on) to spread instructions for…well, again, since I don’t know the Mysterious Master Plan, I don’t know what the instructions are about. My poor mother has asked me on multiple occasions why people seem to think she’d want to hear bad things about Jewish people. My mother has her faults, but anti-Semitism isn’t one of them, so I’m going to have to chalk it up to the bad luck of being related to a lot of crazy racist people.

Anyway, that was my rambling way of saying I don’t think the Star of David on the flag is a pro-Israel thing.

NEW! (Oct. ’09) Katie J. sent us a link to the video game El Emigrante, in which you (in sombrero) ride a bike and try to avoid the police after you jump the border wall:

Picture 1

Picture 3

The documentary, Hearts Suspended, points to one way that immigration policy disadvantages women.  When a non-U.S. citizen is granted the permission to live and work in the U.S., their spouses are often given permission to accompany their spouse, but not to work.  These spouses, wives more often than husbands, find themselves completely dependent on their husbands.



Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.