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  • Originally published 07/09/2018

    Abolishing ICE Doesn’t Go Far Enough

    Elliott Young

    Abolishing ICE is like a demand to abolish fugitive slave catching. It’s a good move, but it’s not the same as abolishing slavery.

  • Originally published 07/05/2018

    "Abolish ICE" is a massive political mistake

    Julian Zelizer

    While focusing on ICE is an extremely important debate, and dismantling the agency might the be the best policy decision, it carries enormous short-term political risks for the Democrats going into the midterm elections.

  • Originally published 05/28/2018

    Which Side Are You on?

    Ed Simon

    That’s the question that now faces us in this moment of peril.

  • Originally published 04/13/2018

    The Rise of Western Civilizationism

    Daniel Pipes

    What the anti-immigrant movements around the world have in common and why it’s lazy to call them populist or nationalist.

  • Originally published 03/05/2018

    Who Does She Stand For?

    Paul A. Kramer

    As the Statue of Liberty turned 100, our long battle over immigration was having its moment in Reagan’s America.

  • Originally published 03/05/2018

    There are echoes of the Fugitive Slave Act in today's immigration debate

    Harold Meyerson

    Just as the slave catchers argued, speciously, that freed Negroes imperiled the antebellum North, today's anti-immigrant forces, beginning with Trump, argue that immigrants pose a threat to public safety, though crime has fallen precipitously during the past quarter-century.

  • Originally published 02/16/2018

    When Immigrants Were Welcomed

    Jim Sleeper

    Congress has failed immigrants again. But in the 1920s, this plan quieted xenophobes and nurtured new Americans.

  • Originally published 10/09/2017

    How’s Brexit Going?

    Luke Reader

    It’s been 6 months since the British began the process of withdrawing from the EU. The signals thus far are not promising.

  • Originally published 09/26/2017

    Borders are back and a new game looms

    Niall Ferguson

    European elites sneer compulsively at Trump, but polls show that majorities of their citizens would support a similar ban on Muslim immigration into the European Union.

  • Originally published 08/07/2017

    West Virginia's immigration 'problem'

    Walter D. Kamphoefner

    Mainstream America is as seductive as ever, yet immigrants are almost as rare as coal miners in the Mountain State.

  • Originally published 05/08/2017

    How crossing the US-Mexico border became a crime

    Kelly Lytle Hernandez

    A new book by historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez reveals that for most of American history immigrants could enter the United States without official permission and not fear criminal prosecution by the federal government. That changed in 1929.

  • Originally published 03/21/2017

    10 facts about the origins of American deportation policy

    Hidetaka Hirota

    Where did the policy come from? When and why was it introduced in the United States? Who was the target of removal law? How were deportation laws enforced? In "Expelling the Poor," historian Hidetaka Hirota answers these questions in revealing the roots of immigration restriction in the United States.

  • Originally published 03/07/2017

    Why Trump EO is Still a Racist Muslim Ban

    Juan Cole

    The way you can tell that the list is generated by prejudice rather than security concerns is that there are plenty of states that are in worse shape than some of the 6 named but which are not Muslim-majority.

  • Originally published 03/07/2017

    Trump and the Battle Over Sanctuary in America

    To carry out mass deportations, thousands of new immigration and customs agents would be hired, and local police officers and sheriff’s deputies would be recruited. To do that, the president would need the cooperation of state, county and city officials. What if he does not get it?

  • Originally published 02/27/2017

    French Historian Says He Was Threatened With Deportation at Houston Airport

    Henry Rousso, a French historian and one of the most pre-eminent scholars on the Holocaust, said he was detained for more than 10 hours by federal border agents in Houston and told he would not be allowed to enter the United States before lawyers intervened to stop his deportation.

  • Originally published 02/10/2017

    How to Radicalize a Peaceful Minority

    Benjamin W. Goossen

    There is no better way to turn a religious minority against a nation than by maligning, detaining, and excluding them.

  • Originally published 02/08/2017

    Frederick Douglass, Refugee

    David Blight

    Throughout modern history, the millions forced to flee as refugees and beg for asylum have felt Douglass’s agony, and thought his thoughts.

  • Originally published 02/06/2017

    When Tyrants Banned Religious Minorities

    Looking back over the course of the past 2,000 years, it is remarkable how many of these violent and discriminatory measures were about profit and patriotism.

  • Originally published 01/31/2017

    AHA Condemns Executive Order Restricting Entry to the United States

    "The order will have a significant and detrimental impact on thousands of innocent people, whether inhabitants of refugee camps across the world who have waited months or even years for interviews scheduled in the coming month (now canceled), travelers en route to the United States with valid visas or other documentation, or other categories of residents of the United States, including many of our students and colleagues."

  • Originally published 01/30/2017

    Huddled Masses–Keep Out!

    Bob Buzzanco

    Not since I had to remember and recite “The New Colossus” in elementary school have I seen so many references to Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty as in the past week.

  • Originally published 10/10/2016

    Know-Nothing Bigot Who Won Big

    Gil Troy

    He trashed immigrants, targeted one religious group, and brought political discourse to a new low.

  • Originally published 09/13/2016

    The Great, Sad, Impractical, Wall of Trump

    Fred Zilian

    History shows great resources have to be spent on the building and maintenance of walls and even then human beings find ways around them.

  • Originally published 06/26/2016

    Why Brexit Won

    Luke Reader

    Immigration was important, but other big factors also affected the vote.

  • Originally published 11/19/2015

    Party Like It Is 1932

    Andrew Meyer

    Donald Trump's recent assent to the idea that Muslim Americans be given special identifications is so grotesquely reminiscent of the yellow "Star of David" badges issued by the Nazi regime as to boggle the mind. The situation might be tragically laughable if Trump himself were not still gaining in the polls.

  • Originally published 11/16/2015

    America, the Not So Promised Land

    Tara Zahra

    We conveniently forget that a third of the immigrants who came here a century ago didn’t like what they found — and went back.

  • Originally published 10/20/2015

    Ann Coulter's Immigrant Ancestors

    Megan Smolenyak

    "I'm a settler. I'm descended from settlers. Not from immigrants ... I'm not living in the Cherokee Nation. I'm living in America, which was created by settlers, not immigrants."

  • Originally published 10/20/2015

    The ancestral immigrant history of anti-immigrant crusader Donald Trump

    Gwenda Blair

    Trump's anti-immigrant rant and follow-up pledge to deport all undocumented immigrants and their families have proved a shrewd campaign tactic. But despite Trump's repeated claim to "tell it like it is," he has often failed to do so with regard to his own family's immigrant past.

  • Originally published 05/04/2015

    Ellis Island expands its story of US immigration history

    With the unveiling of a new exhibition next month, Ellis Island is telling stories of immigrants who have come as recently as the start of this century, decades after the last arrival was processed through its doors.

  • Originally published 01/09/2015

    How Immigrant Activists Changed L.A.

    Manuel Pastor

    Immigrant rights organizers and advocates have had their own organizations, agendas, and political battles to improve the quality of daily life in a region in which nearly one-tenth of residents are undocumented and where one in five children have at least one undocumented parent.

  • Originally published 11/25/2014

    Executive actions on immigration have long history

    President Obama’s executive action to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation is an act that both follows and departs from precedents set by his predecessors.

  • Originally published 08/25/2014

    America’s Continuing Border Crisis

    Aviva Chomsky

    Immigrant rights organizations should be criticizing both parties for their policies in Central America (including President Obama’s free trade agenda), their economic and immigration policies (that criminalize workers), and the ways they are pitting immigrant youth against poor Americans in a struggle for scarce resources.

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Why Was Enoch Powell Condemned as a Racist and Not Charles de Gaulle?

    Daniel Pipes

    Credit: Wiki Commons/HNN staff.The French and British empires historically had different premises, with the former (in the Roman tradition) focused more on culture and the latter more on race, hierarchy, and family. This difference took many forms: one finds meals of bifteck-frites in tiny towns in the former French colony of Niger but little English food even in the cities of neighboring Nigeria. Léopold Senghor of Senegal became a significant French poet and cultural figure whereas Rabindranath Tagore of Bengal could never transcend his Indian origins.Likewise, French and British politicians responded to the initial post-World War II immigration of non-Western peoples to their countries in characteristically different ways. Charles de Gaulle, arguably the most important leader of France since Napoleon, focused on culture while Enoch Powell, a rising star in the United Kingdom, emphasized race. Here are their speeches on the topic, starting with de Gaulle (1890-1970), who spoke on March 5, 1959:

  • Originally published 07/24/2013

    Stephen R. Kelly: How French Canadian Immigration Helped Build America

    Stephen R. Kelly is a retired American diplomat and the associate director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Duke University.DURHAM, N.C. — WATCHING the free-for-all in Washington over immigration reform, it’s easy to conclude that an airtight border has always been our national goal.The trouble with this narrative, as I discovered when serving as the American consul general in Quebec City in the late 1990s, is that it flies in the face of our own history.

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Alixa Naff, scholar and historian of the Arab-American experience, dies at 93

    McLEAN, Va. — Alixa Naff, an early and pioneering historian who documented the lives of the first wave of Arab-American immigrants a century ago, has died after a brief illness. She was 93.Naff died Saturday at her home in Mitchellville, Md., according to two of her friends who were with her that day.Naff, who immigrated from what is now Lebanon when she was a toddler, is perhaps best known for a collection of oral histories and artifacts that she donated to the Smithsonian and which is still available for scholarly research at the National Museum of American History.“Through her research, Alixa Naff greatly contributed to the understanding of the early Arab immigrant experience in the United States from 1880 through the 1950s,” the Smithsonian said in a statement Wednesday....

  • Originally published 05/15/2013

    German dialect in Texas is one of a kind

    The first German settlers arrived in Texas over 150 years ago and successfully passed on their native language throughout the generations - until now.German was the main language used in schools, churches and businesses around the hill country between Austin and San Antonio. But two world wars and the resulting drop in the standing of German meant that the fifth and sixth generation of immigrants did not pass it on to their children....Hans Boas, a linguistic and German professor at the University of Texas, has made it his mission to record as many speakers of German in the Lone Star State as he can before the last generation of Texas Germans passes away.Mr Boas has recorded 800 hours of interviews with over 400 German descendants in Texas and archived them at the Texas German Dialect Project. He says the dialect, created from various regional German origins and a mix of English, is one of a kind....

  • Originally published 04/21/2013

    Don't Let the Boston Bombing Roll Back the Rights of Immigrants

    Elliott Young

    ¡Ya Es Hora! March & Rally for Immigration Reform. Via Flickr.The big immigration debate is finally happening. The grand bargain, if there is one after the hysteria over the arrest of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will likely include a path to citizenship for “illegal” immigrants and tightened border security. What will remain unchanged in whatever deal is struck between Democrats and Republicans is the idea that citizenship as the prerequisite for rights. Citizenship, as political scientist Hannah Arendt wrote in 1951 in The Origins of Totalitarianism, is the “right to have rights.”

  • Originally published 02/15/2013

    Bengali Harlem: Author documents a lost history of immigration in America

    In the next few weeks, Fatima Shaik, an African-American, Christian woman, will travel “home” from New York to Kolkata, India. It will be a journey steeped in a history that has remained unknown until the publication last month of a revelatory book by Vivek Bald. And it will be a journey of contemplation as Shaik, 60, meets for the first time ancestors with whom she has little in common. “I want to go back because I want to find some sort of closure for my family, said Shaik, an author and scholar of the Afro-Creole experience.

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Mae M. Ngai: Reforming Immigration for Good

    Mae M. Ngai, a professor of history and Asian-American studies at Columbia, is the author of “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.”IN Las Vegas yesterday, President Obama made it clear that an overhaul of America’s immigration laws was his top domestic priority. He expressed cautious support for a bipartisan plan by eight senators that would create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in exchange for tougher border enforcement, employment checks and temporary work visas for farmworkers and highly skilled engineers and scientists.Many critical details are still missing, but the general framework is notable for its familiarity. Variations on all of these measures have been tried before, with mixed results. Legalization of the undocumented is humane and practical, but the proposals for controlling future immigration are almost certain to fail.

  • Originally published 05/21/2006

    100 Years in the Back Door, Out the Front (Immigration)

    Nearly every immigrant group has been caught at that crossroads for a time, wanted for work but unwelcome as citizens, especially when the economy slumps. But Mexicans have been summoned and sent back in cycles for four generations, repeatedly losing the ground they had gained.

  • Originally published 01/20/2003

    What Is a "White Nigger" Anyway?

    Andrew D. Todd

    There has been a more or less considerable furor over Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-WV) usage of the term.

  • Originally published 12/08/2015

    The American Reaction to Refugees Since 1924

    Mark Byrnes's Facing Backwards

    The reactions we see today to the prospect of admitting refugees from Syria and elsewhere have a long history in this country. 

  • Originally published 11/22/2015

    The American Reaction to Refugees, 1848-1924

    Mark Byrnes's Facing Backwards

    The sad demand that only Christian refugees should be admitted to the U.S. reminds this historian of an awful American tradition.

  • Originally published 08/12/2014

    Borderlands: What's Happening to America?

    Liberty and Power

    The U.S. government regards a large part of the country as close enough to a border or coast to justify treating individuals — citizens or not — as though they have no rights whatsoever. People have been beaten and had their personal belongings seized — without warrant or charge — just because they resented being treated like criminals. This should alarm anyone who thinks America is the “land of the free.”

  • Originally published 07/18/2014

    Let the Immigrants Stay

    Liberty and Power

    Virtually all commentary about the influx of unaccompanied Central American children into the United States, which some say could rise to 90,000 this year, misses the point: no government has the moral authority to capture these kids and send them back to the miserable situations they have escaped.

  • Originally published 06/24/2014

    Immigration and Mindless Partisanship

    Liberty and Power

    About two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Obama’s immigration policies. The polling reveals extreme partisanship: 60% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans approve of the president’s approach.