Citizenship is invaluable, yet our status as citizens is always at risk - even for those of us born on US soil.
From emancipated slaves through the US-born children of undocumented immigrants in the 21st century, citizenship stripping is an important history previously neglected. In You Are Not American, writer, law professor and historian Amanda Frost tells little known stories of how our government has systematically expatriated people for its own benefit. Harriet Scott, wife of Dred, needed to be denied citizenship to profit white men; children of Chinese immigrants needed to be denied to keep them out; today, in "Operation Janus," the Trump administration has created a mass denaturalization campaign, for naturalized citizens and even people born on US soil. Through nine powerful chapters of our history, Frost explores how the concept of citizenship and the rights of citizens has evolved, and especially how it has been challenged. We come to know remarkable figures who have fought to stay Americans, and sometimes lost.
At its heart, the book grapples with what it means to be American, and with ideas of membership, identity, belonging, and exclusion--issues that continue to occupy, and divide, Americans today. Drawing on the narratives of those who have struggled to be treated as full members of "We the People," Frost exposes a hidden history that reaches forward to the present moment, when Americans are being unmade anew.