Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens: Essays on Immigration and Citizenship

Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens: Essays on Immigration and Citizenship

Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens: Essays on Immigration and Citizenship

Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens: Essays on Immigration and Citizenship

Synopsis

Immigration is one of the critical issues of our time. In Citizens, Strangers, & In-Betweens, an integrated series of thirteen essays, Peter Schuck analyzes the complex social forces that have been unleashed by unprecedented legal & illegal migration to the United States & that have reshaped American society in countless ways. Schuck first presents the demographic, political, economic, legal, & cultural contexts in which these transformations are occurring. He then shows how the courts, Congress, & the states are responding to the tensions created by recent immigration. Exploring the nature of U.S. citizenship, he challenges traditional ways of defining the national community, addressing the controversial topics of citizenship for illegal alien children, the devaluation & revaluation of citizenship, & dual citizenship. In his final section, Schuck focuses on four vital & explosive policy issues: immigration's effects on the civil rights movement, the cultural differences of various American ethnic groups as revealed in their experiences as immigrants throughout the world, the protection of refugees fleeing persecution, & immigration's effects on American society in recent years.

Excerpt

Exactly one century ago, the United States formally became an imperial nation. But the Treaty of Paris, which concluded the Spanish-American War by transferring the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and other territories to the United States, simply confirmed what had been evident from the nation's inception: it would be a dynamic, expansionist, ethnically polyglot society. indeed, many of the Constitution's framers viewed the document as a charter for such a "manifest destiny," an imperial enterprise that was swiftly launched with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and avidly pursued thereafter as the young nation increasingly projected its political, ideological, military, economic, and cultural power across the continent, hemisphere, and globe. The relentless diffusion of American influence beyond its shores continues today, on the eve of the twenty-first century. (Indeed, as I write, the United States is exploring the terrain of Mars, searching for signs of extraterrestrial life.)

In one of history's great and momentous ironies, however, people have moved in precisely the opposite direction. As America's tendrils spread outward, more than 65 million immigrants thronged to the United States to live. This directional disjunction was hardly accidental. American influence abroad helped to propagate the message that the golden future lay in the United States, a message that inspired a vast throng of immigrants to cast off their destitution and persecution and journey to America but that also proved delusive to the millions who later returned home in failure. Some of America's military and economic ventures abroad created dislocations and relationships that spawned large and recurring migratory streams to the United States from those regions. The four leading sources of immigrants to the United States today--Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic--are countries that America once invaded and occupied. This is a particularly striking example of the law of unanticipated consequences, which operates so frequently and remorselessly in the realm of immigration.

This book is about how those 65 million immigrants (plus the more than 5 million who now live in the United States illegally but more or less permanently) have helped to shape American life and law--and vice versa. The notion that these influences are reciprocal--that immigrants both affect and are affected by American society--is perfectly obvious to even the most . . .

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