North Americans are fond of saying, almost reverentially, that the United States is an immigrant nation. And indeed it is. But therein is a long and complicated tale, fraught with ambiguity, heated debates and major shifts. In a new book Aristide Zolberg analyzes this story with incomparable erudition and fresh insight.
Typically, immigration policy has been treated as a secondary subject in U.S. history, except when episodic bursts of nativism and anti-immigration sentiment become dominant. Zolberg, who is one of the world’s outstanding scholars in the field of human migration studies, convincingly corrects this outlook. As Zolberg thoroughly documents, immigration policy has been a matter of constant concern throughout U.S. history.