Americans in Waiting
The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United StateseBook - 2006
America is unquestionably a nation of immigrants. And yet throughout its history the practicalities of immigration have inspired more questions than consensus. Who should be admitted? What should the path to citizenship be? Despite national security concerns over enemies penetrating our borders, the number of foreign-born people living in the United States grew to 35 million in 2005, an all-time high. A coherent and rational immigrant policy is more necessary than ever. In Americans in Waiting, Hiroshi Motomura discovers in our national past a simple yet powerful approach to immigration and citizenship. Rewriting the conventional story, Motomura uncovers how for over 150 years, many immigrants were immediately put on track to U.S. citizenship. They were eligible to homestead land on the western frontier and entitled to overseas diplomatic protection. Citizens-to-be were even allowed to vote. In sum, immigration was assumed to be a transition to citizenship, and immigrants were future citizens-Americans in waiting. Once central to law and policy, this view has all but vanished. Beginning in the early twentieth century, the United States began to treat its immigrants in one of two ways: as signatories to a contract that sets the terms of their stay in this country, or as affiliates who can earn rights only as they become, over time, enmeshed in the nation's life. Immigration is now seen too often as a problem to be solved, rather than a pillar of our nation's strength. A panoramic history of the past 200 years of immigration and citizenship in the United States, Americans in Waiting offers a clear lesson: only by recovering this lost of history of immigration can we ensure that both current and future citizens share in the sense of belonging that is crucial to full participation in American life.
Publisher: Oxford ; 2006. Oxford University Press,
Branch Call Number: REM
Characteristics: 1 online resource (viii, 254 p.)