Recently in Immigration and Population Category

What I'm Reading

By Kristen Lynn

Even after reading Samuel Huntington's cautionary "The Hispanic Challenge," an excerpt from his 2004 book Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity, I am confident that the dominant American identity is here to stay.

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director, Immigration History Research Center

In debates about immigration, Americans prefer watery metaphors--of waves or streams of migrants washing into the United States. Maybe that's why so many imagine that their government can simply "turn off the tap." World historians explain why such faucets don't always work.

Vietnamese immigration to Poland

Anna Mazurkiewicz Ph.D, University of Gdansk, Kosciuszko Foundation Fellow at the IHRC

While Americans know that Vietnamese migrate, few imagine Poland as an important destination for them.

Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free?

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

Americans have long associated immigration with the images that Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus? affixed to the pedestal supporting the Statue of Liberty—images of the “tired? and of the “poor? and of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.?

Historians now dispute whether the immigrants of the past were either tired or particularly poor. Most were working age people, full of energy, and in possession of sufficient cash to pay their own passages, as the truly poor of their times were not. Today, those images of huddled masses seem even less appropriate than they did a century ago.

By Katherine Fennelly, Professor of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, IHRC Affiliate

The American press has been filled with news stories on the rapid increase of the Latino population in both traditional and non-traditional immigration states (“Hispanics driving population growth in Georgia? The Telegraph, “Lee minority population young, soaring?, “Beaufort County leads state in growth? The Beaufort Gazette). At the same time local officials in some parts of the country are proposing legislation that would deny benefits to the US-born children of undocumented immigrants, a majority of whom are Latinos.

On Efficiency and Immigrant Labor

By Andy Urban, PhD candidate in History at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty

A recent article in the Economist [link] attempts to complicate the current debate surrounding immigration by reiterating the point that undocumented immigrants typically do not compete with native-born Americans for the same jobs. The article focuses on Jim Pederson, a Democratic candidate for senator from Arizona. Pederson has been touting a guest worker program as a “sensible? alternative to the impossible task of securing and closing-off the border with Mexico. In part, the Economist article draws from a scholarly report recently published in Foreign Affairs by Tamar Jacoby [link], a member of the conservative Manhattan Institute think-tank. Jacoby critiques the arguments of her conservative counterparts seeking to restrict immigration by asserting that, “The market mechanisms that connect U.S. demand with foreign supply, particularly from Latin America, are surprisingly efficient.? Essentially Jacoby promotes a free market approach to immigration, whereby a cheap labor supply from abroad will provide construction and service sectors with a labor supply that they cannot attract from the native-born American population.

By Louis Mendoza, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty.

This week’s immigration news was dominated by proclamations either celebrating or condemning President Bush’s signing into law a new homeland security bill that includes a 1.2 billion dollar appropriation for building 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem unauthorized immigration.

A Tale of Two Islands

By Erika Lee, associate professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. IHRC Affiliated Faculty

Ellis Island and Angel Island were both in the news in recent weeks. And the
stories about these two sites where immigrants from around the world were
admitted into the United States tell us a lot about which immigration
histories get remembered and celebrated and which ones do not.

A World of Mobile Women

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

How fortunate that the U.N. released its report on the state of world population 2006 as domestic commentators were pronouncing the death of immigration reform.

This accident of timing enabled its big news about women migrants to make the headlines. That, in itself, is big news for a world that often ignores migrants’ gender.

Love, Babies...and Migration

By Donna R. Gabaccia, Rudolph J. Vecoli Professor of Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota

Human beings continue to act like human beings--to fall in love, marry, have babies, and want to preserve family ties--even as they migrate across national boundaries. Their completely normal choices pose fundamental
challenges to common assumptions about citizenship. They complicate the already-complex politics of devising and implementing immigration policies.

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