Unwelcome Strangers: American Identity and the Turn against Immigration

Unwelcome Strangers: American Identity and the Turn against Immigration

Unwelcome Strangers: American Identity and the Turn against Immigration

Unwelcome Strangers: American Identity and the Turn against Immigration

Excerpt

Writing this book was difficult at times. Many persons debating immigration resort to emotional and vague generalizations. Both sides use such appeals, which are not helpful in determining immigration policy. Just what does it mean to be called a "nation of immigrants"? The continuation of a generous policy? I believe so, but how generous? Currently about one million newcomers are coming to the United States annually. Is this the right number or should it be increased or decreased? Restrictionists believe the number should be substantially lower. They think that while illegal migration is especially burdensome, the problem is not undocumented immigration alone. Legal migration, they inform us, is three times the illegal flow, and to their minds it is the numbers that cause problems.

Restrictionists make four basic critiques of current immigration. They believe that the system is broken, that mass immigration harms the United States economically, that it is damaging the environment, and that it is changing American culture adversely. Some of the arguments used in the debate contain views I strongly disagree with. I am especially uneasy about the debates over assimilation and the impact of new immigrants on American culture. These arguments often sound too much like turn-of-the-century nativism. However, the explicit racist and religious prejudiced tones of those debates are absent today, and I do not label critics as racists. Racism is a much abused term, and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.