Whom Shall We Welcome | The Nation

Whom Shall We Welcome


Throughout US history, immigration has been a deeply complex issue, with definitive resolution seeming virtually unattainable. Enmeshed with questions of religion, race, political belief, nationality, class and ethnicity, it has stubbornly resisted legislative remedy.

Especially during times of socioeconomic or political unrest, the subject of immigration continually re-emerges as one of the most contentious in the sphere of public debate. Frequently, the discourse is accompanied by an astounding historical amnesia about our national origins. Americans, despite living in a country largely established and maintained by immigrants, have not always rolled out the welcome mat in the same way that it had been rolled out for them.

The Nation joined the immigration debate soon after one of the first significant confrontations between recent arrivals and established residents. Considerable numbers of Irish Catholics arrived in the United States following a famine that had devastated their country in the late 1840s, and they settled mainly in the crowded ghettos of large Northeastern cities. Possessing limited industrial skills, they built railroads, worked as domestic servants and longshoremen, and labored in urban manufacturing plants. This large-scale migration of a non-Protestant population to the United States was met with the same kind of hostility and fear that would characterize the immigration narrative for years to come.

Today, after many decades of debate and the passage of significant pieces of immigration legislation, our country remains essentially where it started: deeply divided and fundamentally ambivalent, yet still speaking in terms of enduring solutions and definitive answers.

This newly designed pack includes a five-page historical overview, four pages of questions for discussion, and reproductions of original primary source documents—articles as they originally appeared in The Nation dating back to 1868.

In This Pack

The Week
(January 23, 1868).

The Chinese and the Hoodlums
(October 11, 1888).

The Week
(April 11, 1892).

The Week
(September 12, 1901).

Legislating Against Anarchists
(March 27, 1902).

What is a Race?
Franz Boas, (January 28, 1925).

Problems of Immigration
Frank Julian Warne, (January 25, 1917).

Turn the Light on Palmer
(February 2, 1921).

Our Immigration Policy
(February 27, 1924).

Land of the Noble Free
(April 23, 1924).

A Protest
Prof. Francisco Perez, (July 12, 1922).

Cotton Goes West
Max Stern, (July 14, 1926).

The Mexican Return
Robert N. McLean, (August 24, 1932).

Citizens Behind Barbed Wire
Charles Iglehart, (June 6, 1942).

Poverty Follows the Crops
Carey McWilliams, (March 23, 1946).

Crocodile Tears
(December 25, 1943).

McCarran's Ministry of Fear
(July 21, 1951).

Migrants: Inquiry or Inquest
Carey McWilliams, (September 30, 1950).

Wealth Attracts Talent
Ruth Jorrin, (April 3, 1967).

A New Green Card Deal
(July 9, 2007).

Dope & Jobs: The Border Story
Carey McWilliams, (April 24, 1976).

No Pasaran
Ira Gollobin, (November 1, 1986).

NAFTA: Trinational Fiasco
Sarah Anderson, John Cavanagh, David Ranney, (July 15/22, 1996).

Five Myths About Immigration
David Cole, (October 17, 1994).

Hard Times in the Big Easy
Gary Younge, (March 13, 2006).

The Fight of Our Lives
(May 7, 2007).

Divided States
Peter Schrag, (January 7/14, 2008).



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