U.S. in a Migrant’s Age

Jason DeParle’s article in the Sunday, June 27th NYT’s struck a note this morning, complementing the chord (or discord) that is gaining in strength like so many vuvuzelas in South Africa. He writes,

“As heirs to an immigrant past, Americans may have an edge in a migrants’ age. As contentious as the issue is here, the Americans’ capacity to absorb immigrants remains the envy of many Europeans (including those not inclined to envy Americans). Still, today’s challenges differ from those of the (mythologized) past. At least five differences set this age apart and amplify migration’s effects.”

I wish I had something to bring to the table that was neither a cliche statement on the modern composition of the United States as an immigrant nation or that has not yet been said, but I can certainly that the effect on our society, economy and every other aspect of our lives from immigration becomes more obvious to me each day.

Xenophobes in every county are becoming more vocal about guarding what they have from “outsiders.” The fallacy of these arguments should go without saying, but it is evident that actions, such as Arizona’s destructive new law, speak more loudly than rational thought. A fear of mine is that America will no longer be a place of final destination, a society that people around the world wish to join. That day will be the last day of a great America.

A key question, as noted by DeParle, is the effects of transnationalism on the sustainability of a nation state that experiences a high degree of transnational movement/immigration. A society has a lot to gain from sharing a common language, a common understanding of law and justice, a standardized education that, theoretically, puts the masses on an equal footing. A transnational world is, indeed, an intriguing and even exciting concept, one driven by technology and the freedom of people and money to move across physical and political boundaries; but what would be the destructive consequences?

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