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The Accidental American advocates a bold new approach to immigration: a free international flow of labor to match globalization’s free flow of capital. After all, corporations are encouraged to move anywhere in the world they can maximize their earnings. People shouldn’t have to risk exploitation, abuse, even imprisonment when they try to do the same.

Activist, journalist, and immigration expert Rinku Sen and organizer Fekkak Mamdouh examine the consequences of this injustice through Mamdouh’s own story. Born in Morocco, he was a waiter and union leader at Windows on the World, a restaurant in the World Trade Center, on September 11th. In the aftermath, facing a rising tide of anti-immigrant bias, Mamdouh and others formed the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York to help their colleagues fight for decent jobs and fair treatment.

The experiences of Mamdouh and his coworkers vividly demonstrate the human cost of our flawed immigration policies. Since September 11th, immigrants have increasingly been treated as presumptive criminals. As a counterpoint to these regressive, fundamentally un-American practices, Sen forcefully advocates more humane policies, coupled with proposals for reforming globalization so that all countries can more equitably benefit from a mobile labor force.