Garland argues that American immigration quota laws stimulated illegal immigration from Europe. She makes two claims that guide the narrative of the text. First, she asserts that the history of illegal immigration cannot be interpreted by reviewing the letter of the law and enforcement alone. It requires telling stories about what the law meant to people through their experiences. Second, Garland claims that Jews, unlike Mexicans and Asians were able to decouple and shed their ethnic identity from illegal immigration.