Nations of Immigrants
Third Floor, Levis Faculty Center
919 W. Illinois St. Urbana
Even as it again debates immigration restriction, the United States is almost alone worldwide in proclaiming itself a "nation of immigrants." Many Americans wrongly assume that immigrants had a uniquely important role in the making of America. In fact, many nations have depended on migration to build their populations and workforces. And even the United States did not embrace this label until quite recently. Why do other nations not view themselves as "nations of immigrants?" And what exactly is it that Americans celebrate with this assertion of uniqueness? By acknowledging the global nature of international migrations, we can not only answer such questions but begin to assess the choices that create "nations of immigrants" and differentiate them from other nations created from populations of mobile foreigners.
WILL-AM580 FOCUS interview with Donna Gabaccia
Director, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer