Within the last two decades, the racial composition of the nation has undergone a profound change. Immigration reforms originally intended to favor Europeans have resulted, ironically, in the influx of over fifteen million Asian and Latino immigrants. Yet, while American society confronts multiracial realities, much of recent American race theory either dismisses the significance of Asian Americans and Latinos altogether, or subsumes them into traditional biracial models. Although Asian Americans have played a significant role in American life for more than a century, serious academic interest in their history is a relatively recent phenomenon. This evolution is not unlike the patterns in sub disciplines such as African American and women's history.
"Probationary Americans "looks at the construction of contemporary immigration rules and at their race-based consequences. The authors argue that immigration rules continue to be about race and class, as important categories for determining entry and membership into American society. Also, as immigration reforms re-shape Asian American communities by class, the authors suggest that social policies still continue to construct racialized identities for Asians as a "model minority," in an increasingly competitive, global economy where the U.S. occupies a core position.