Two Hearts Beat as One
In DW Gibson’s article “America Without Migrants” [Oct. 17], I learned that Middletown, New York, is “the heart of Donald Trump country.” In John B. Judis’s review of Strangers in Their Own Land in the same issue, I learned that “Arlie Russell Hochschild journeys into the heart of Trump Country”: Lake Charles, Louisiana. Oh well, I guess two hearts are better than one.
blooming grove, n.y.
It is interesting that DW Gibson, in his fine piece about the costs—economic, social, and ethical—of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, chooses to highlight the lives and labors of two people who have settled in small towns. Immigration continues to be an urban phenomenon, of course. But, as Gibson points out, it is also revitalizing rural and exurban communities beset by the globalization of manufacturing, the automation of agriculture, and the predominance of monocultural, industrial farming.
It is hard to keep young Americans down on the farm after they’ve seen New York or Chicago, but immigrants increasingly see opportunities in small communities that, until recently, were in free fall. To these towns they bring more than the grunt labor of mowing lawns or hanging drywall—and not just to the farm belt of the Midwest. With the right community response, they are providing new energy for local industry, such as the carpet businesses in Dalton, Georgia, and the wineries in Riverhead, New York. In many of these towns, they offer a multicultural remedy for schools that have been losing students.
The welcoming country that Gibson supports ought to include a rural- development program that combines the goals of integrating immigrants and reversing the decline of small towns that have the potential for developing the jobs and enterprises of the future. With legalized status and human-capital investment, immigrants could drive a new rural economy that would benefit everyone.
Diana R. Gordon
I devoured Arthur Goldhammer’s “‘Fever Grips the Entire Nation’” [Oct. 17], finding his insights apt and thought-provoking. One aspect of his analysis, though, could have been usefully expanded in scope. Referring primarily to times of war, Toqueville asserts that “citizens must be prepared to make numerous and painful sacrifices.”