This book explains how migrants can be viewed as racial others, not just because they are nonwhite, but because they are racially "alien." This way of seeing makes it possible to distinguish migrants from a set of racial categories that are presumed to be indigenous to the nation.
In the US, these indigenous racial categories are usually defined in terms of white and black.
Kretsedemas explores how this kind of racialization puts migrants in a quandary, leading them to be simultaneously raced and situated outside of race.
Although the book focuses on the situation of migrants in the US, it builds on theories of migrants and race that extend beyond the US, and makes a point of criticizing nation-centered explanations of race and racism.
These arguments point toward the emergence of a new field visibility that has transformed the racial meaning of nativity, migration and migrant ethnicity.
It also situates these changing views of migrants in a broader historical perspective than prior theory, explaining how they have been shaped by a changing relationship between race and territory that has been unfolding for several hundred years, and which crystallizes in the late colonial era.