Vocapedia > Politics, Economy >
USA > Immigration >
Hyphen nation, Melting pot, Citizenship
Naturalization Ceremony, October
United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services office
in Penn Center, Monroeville, Pa.
Migration Stories From the
Stoops of Pittsburgh
By Jonathan Blaustein
NPR Jan. 22, 2018
Immigrants from more than 30
recently became American citizens
at the local headquarters
the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
in Irving, Tex.
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
What Does It Mean to Be
By DAMIEN CAVE NYT
JUNE 20, 2014
Street in the Little Italy section of New York around 1900.
By Brent Staples Mr. Staples is a member of the editorial board.
Oct. 12, 2019
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
government agency that
lawful immigration to the United States.
apply for citizenship
pathway / path to citizenship
become U.S. Citizens
in as an American > naturalization document
America / USA > the land of
America / USA > Ellis Island
America / USA > Golden Door
American > melting pot
America / USA > salad bowl
America / USA > American Dream
Americans Of MENA descent
the hyphenated USA
hyphenated American > German-Americans
WW1 > After President Woodrow Wilson
took the country into war he said,
"Any man who carries a hyphen about with him,
carries a dagger that he is ready
to plunge into the vitals of this Republic
when he gets ready."
storywall/hyphen-nation - Feb.
100000005170232/trumps-cuba-policy-divides-cuban-americans.html - June 17,
Latinos / Hispanics
Cuban-Americans And The Elusive 'American Dream'
22 January 2014
Latinos / Hispanics > Mainland Puerto Ricans
22 January 2014
Don’t Shut the Golden Door
June 19, 2012
The New York Times
By JOHN M. MacDONALD
and ROBERT J. SAMPSON
IMMIGRATION is in the headlines again, with President Obama’s
decision last week to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who came to the
United States as children, and the Supreme Court’s approaching decision on the
constitutionality of Arizona’s crackdown on undocumented migrants.
But too much of the public debate has focused on the legality of immigration
without considering a more fundamental question: What effects has mass
immigration had on American society?
As a result of the 1965 immigration act, which opened the door widely to
non-European immigrants, 40 million foreign-born immigrants now live in the
United States. They make up 13 percent of the population, the largest such
proportion since the 1920s. More than half of these migrants are from Latin
America and the Caribbean, although a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research
Center found that Asians overtook Hispanics in 2009 as the fastest-growing group
For the May issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social
Science, we commissioned some of the most meticulous research done to date about
the effects of immigration on a cross section of American communities — urban,
suburban and rural.
The scholars who participated were in remarkable agreement: while new immigrants
are poorer than the general population and face considerable hardship, there is
no evidence that they have reshaped the social fabric in harmful ways.
America is neither less safe because of immigration nor is it worse off
economically. In fact, in the regions where immigrants have settled in the past
two decades, crime has gone down, cities have grown, poor urban neighborhoods
have been rebuilt, and small towns that were once on life support are springing
Scholars can’t say for sure that immigration caused these positive developments,
but we know enough to debunk the notion that immigrants worsen social ills.
For example, in rural counties that experienced an influx of immigrants in the
1980s and ’90s, crime rates dropped by more than they did in rural counties that
did not see high immigrant growth. Higher immigration was associated with
reductions in homicide rates for white, black and Latino victims. In both
Hazleton, Pa., which has a recent history of hostility toward immigration, and
St. James, Minn., a much more welcoming community, migrants have also bolstered
dwindling populations and helped to reverse economic decline.
In large gateway cities, immigration has been associated not only with a
decrease in crime but also with economic revitalization and reductions in
concentrated poverty. Data from the 2005 American Community Survey showed, for
example, that the income of blacks in the New York City borough of Queens
surpassed that of whites for the first time, a development driven largely by
immigration from the West Indies.
Scholars found that immigrant youths in Los Angeles were involved in less crime
and violence than their native-born peers in similar economic circumstances.
Research also has shown that an increase in immigration in cities like San
Antonio and Miami did not produce an increase in the homicide rate. Furthermore,
social scientists found that people in immigrant communities in New York were
less cynical about the law than were people in less diverse communities; they
were also more likely to indicate that they would cooperate with the police.
If migration has had such beneficial effects, why, then, has there been such a
Part of the answer surely lies in the social changes — language, political
attitudes, religious mores — that immigrants bring, in addition to the effects
of the recession. The leveling-off of migration, especially from Mexico, may
bring a sense of relief to opponents of these social changes, but if the new
research is any guide, the consequences of the slowdown may be the opposite of
what the critics intend.
Comprehensive immigration reform — last attempted during the second term of
President George W. Bush — should be a priority for whoever wins in November.
Mr. Obama’s decision to exempt undocumented children who were brought to the
United States by their parents from harsh deportation rules is an overdue, but
welcome, first step.
Establishing a clear path to citizenship for undocumented adults, creating a
more permissive guest-worker program, reducing unwarranted police stops of
immigrants and preserving families rather than separating them through
deportation are controversial ideas, but they deserve a hearing.
John M. MacDonald
is an associate professor of criminology
at the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert J. Sampson
is a professor of the social sciences at
Don’t Shut the Golden Door,
When the Uprooted
Put Down Roots
October 9, 2011
The New York Times
By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN
SAN DIEGO — At the Saturday farmer’s market in City Heights, a
major portal for refugees, Khadija Musame, a Somali, arranges her freshly picked
pumpkin leaves and lablab beans amid a United Nations of produce, including
water spinach grown by a Cambodian refugee and amaranth, a grain harvested by
Sarah Salie, who fled rebels in Liberia. Eaten with a touch of lemon by
Africans, and coveted by Southeast Asians for soups, this crop is always a
Among the regular customers at the New Roots farm stand are Congolese women in
flowing dresses, Somali Muslims in headscarves, Latino men wearing broad-brimmed
hats and Burundian mothers in brightly patterned textiles who walk home
balancing boxes of produce on their heads.
New Roots, with 85 growers from 12 countries, is one of more than 50 community
farms dedicated to refugee agriculture, an entrepreneurial movement spreading
across the country. American agriculture has historically been forged by
newcomers, like the Scandinavians who helped settle the Great Plains; today’s
growers are more likely to be rural subsistence farmers from Africa and Asia,
resettled in and around cities from New York, Burlington, Vt., and Lowell,
Mass., to Minneapolis, Phoenix and San Diego.
With language and cultural hurdles, and the need to gain access to land,
financing and marketing, farm ownership for refugees can be very difficult.
Programs like New Roots, which provide training in soil, irrigation techniques
and climate, “help refugees make the leap from community gardens to independent
farms,” said Hugh Joseph, an assistant professor at the Friedman School of
Nutrition at Tufts, which advises 28 “incubator” farms representing hundreds of
Cameroonian peanut plants are growing at Drew Gardens in the Bronx, chronicled
on the Facebook page of Angela Nogue, a refugee farmer. Near Phoenix, a
successful goat meat farm and store was begun by Ibrahim Sawara Dahab, an ethnic
Sudanese from Somalia. “In America, you need experience, and my experience was
goats,” he said.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement in Washington formed a sustainable farming
program in 1998, financing 14 refugee farms and gardens, including one in Boise,
Idaho, where sub-Saharan African farmers have gradually learned to cope with
Larry Laverentz, the program manager for refugee agriculture with the Office of
Refugee Resettlement, said inspiration came from the Hmong, Mien and Lao refugee
farmers of Fresno County, Calif., who settled in the late 1970s and now have
1,300 growers specializing in Asian crops.
These small plots of land can become significant sources of income for refugees,
with most farmers able to earn from $5,000 to more than $50,000 annually, as the
Liberian refugees James and Jawn Golo do on their 20-acre organic farm outside
Phoenix, including sales to five farmers’ markets, restaurants and chefs.
In Burlington, a four-acre farm started by Bhutanese-Nepali, Somali Bantu and
Congolese farmers is still reeling from the flooding of the Winooski River after
Hurricane Irene, which ruined crops at the height of the season and caused an
estimated $15,000 in losses.
“This is a significant supplement to our diet, and budgets are geared to it,”
said Yacouba Jacob Bogre, 38, executive director of the Association of Africans
Living in Vermont and a lawyer from Burkina Faso. “Emotionally, we lost a lot,
along with fresh vegetables for our households.”
New Roots in City Heights, which Michelle Obama visited last spring, is a model
for today’s micro-enterprise. (It is also a culinary education, where a
Zimbabwean grower can discover bok choy.) It was started at the request of his
Somali Bantu community, said Bilali Muya, the effervescent trainer-in-chief.
“There was this kind of depression,” he said. “Everyone was dreaming to come to
the U.S.A., but they were not happy. The people were put in apartments, missing
activity, community. They were bored.“
They were also homesick for traditional food, grown by hand. In City Heights,
where half the residents live at or below the federal poverty line, the
three-year-old farmer’s market was the city’s first in a low-income
neighborhood, a collaboration between the nonprofit International Rescue
Committee and the San Diego County Farm Bureau.
One can hear 15 different languages there, amid the neat rows of kale, rape and
banana plants — but body language is the lingua franca.
“If I see a weed, I pull it, shaking my head,” said Mrs. Musame, the Somali
farmer. “We understand each other.”
The hub of refugee life, City Heights was largely home to African-Americans and
Mexican immigrants until the fall of Saigon in 1975, when thousands of Southeast
Asian refugees arrived to a massive tent city at nearby Camp Pendleton.
From 1980 through 1990, the population almost doubled with immigrants and
refugees (most recently from Iraq). The changing demographics of the
neighborhood resemble an electrocardiogram of international conflict.
But the exquisite fruits and vegetables for sale, lovingly grown, belie the life
experiences of the growers. Mrs. Salie, the Liberian, was raped by rebels and
hid for two years in the bush after reporting the crime, she said. Mrs. Musame,
a Somali Bantu, came to San Diego as a widow after her husband and three of her
sons were gunned down.
And Mr. Muya said Somalis had taken his father, who dug irrigation trenches for
a local banana farm, and tortured him, his screams echoing through the village.
His grandfather went to help and was beaten with the butt of a rifle. Many hours
later, Mr. Muya said, the villagers were told: “Come pick up your dogs.”
“As a Somali Bantu, you don’t go to sleep really deep,” Mr. Muya continued. “You
In addition to accepting food stamps, the market offers $20 a month to
low-income shoppers to buy more produce (financing comes from Wholesome Wave, a
nonprofit based in Connecticut, and a $250,000 grant from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention).
“Especially in tough times, farmers are becoming pharmacists — providing healthy
fresh local fruits and vegetables to vulnerable families,” said Gus Schumacher,
a former under secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture and now
an executive vice president of Wholesome Wave.
Their produce is sold to restaurateurs like George and Samia Salameh, who buy
the farm’s tomatoes and mint. Mr. Salameh, a former airline pilot, came to the
United States from Lebanon 37 years ago. “This product is absolutely fitting for
me,” he said.
The country’s pioneering refugee farm program, in Lowell, Mass., was founded by
Tufts University and continues to thrive.
Visoth Kim, a Khmer refugee from Cambodia, now 63, farms land in Dracut, Mass.,
owned by the widow of John Ogonowski, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11
that crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Mr. Ogonowski, whose
ancestors were Polish immigrants, made land available to Hmong and Cambodian
refugees, teaching them modern irrigation techniques in exchange for fresh
Mr. Kim, who witnessed mass starvation in Cambodia, losing a brother, refers to
his two-acre plot as “my plenty.” His fellow farmer Sinikiwe Makarutsa grew up
in Zimbabwe and now grows maize on land rented from a local church. She made
enough money to buy a tractor and rototiller.
Ms. Makarutsa was inspired to farm, she said, after tasting supermarket
tomatoes. She uses the Zimbabwean phrase “Pamuzinda” to describe her seven-acre
Roughly translated, she said, “It means ‘where you belong.’ ”
When the Uprooted Put
Down Roots, NYT, 9.10.2011,
Historian Who Chronicled
Dies at 95
September 23, 2011
The New York Times
By PAUL VITELLO
Oscar Handlin, a prolific, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose
best-known book altered public perceptions about the role of immigration in the
arc of American history, died on Tuesday at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was
His death was confirmed by his wife, Lilian.
Dr. Handlin wrote many scholarly volumes on immigration, race and ethnic
identity during his nearly half century as a history professor at Harvard. His
work as a chronicler of the migrations of Puerto Ricans and African-Americans to
the cities attracted a generation of historians and sociologists to urban
studies during the 1950s, when the field was considered marginal.
But his best-known work, “The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations
That Made the American People,” which won the 1952 Pulitzer for history, was
aimed at an audience of general readers in making his case that immigration —
more than the frontier experience, or any other episode in its past — was the
continuing, defining event of American history. Dispensing with footnotes and
writing in a lyrical style, Dr. Handlin emphasized the common threads in the
experiences of the 30 million immigrants who poured into American cities between
1820 and the turn of the century. Regardless of nationality, religion, race or
ethnicity, he wrote, the common experience was wrenching hardship, alienation
and a gradual Americanization that changed America as much as it changed the
The book used a form of historical scholarship considered unorthodox at the
time, employing newspaper accounts, personal letters and diaries as well as
archives. The New York Times described it as “history with a difference — the
difference being its concern with hearts and souls.”
Dr. Handlin, whose parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia, was among the
first Jewish scholars appointed to a full professorship at Harvard, where he
taught from 1939 until 1984. His family’s immigrant background, and the
influence of a mentor, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr., who pioneered
the field of immigration studies at Harvard, led him to the subject of his Ph.D.
dissertation, and his first book, “Boston’s Immigrants: 1790-1880.”
Published in 1941, it was considered innovative for its use of census data, the
archives of German and Irish immigrant newspapers and sociological concepts in
tracing how immigrants, most of them coming from rural communities steeped in
ancient traditions, adjusted to life without the support of those traditions in
an American city where they were scorned.
“All his work tried to capture the voice and experience of people undergoing
this uprooting process, this process of immigration,” said David J. Rothman, a
history professor at Columbia University and a former student of Dr. Handlin’s.
“He was alert to the fact that every group was different. But this process,
regardless of whether you were Irish or Jewish, was something shared.”
In the often-quoted opening line of the introduction to “Uprooted,” Dr. Handlin
wrote: “Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I
discovered that the immigrants were American history.”
Oscar Handlin was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 29, 1915, the oldest of four
children of Joseph and Ida Handlin. His father owned a grocery store. Oscar
Handlin told interviewers that he decided to become a historian when he was 8,
and began reading avidly, even while delivering groceries to his father’s
He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934, at 19, and received a master’s
degree in history from Harvard the next year. He taught at Brooklyn College from
1936 until 1938 while working toward his doctorate, which he received from
Harvard in 1940.
His first wife, Mary Flug Handlin, a historian, died in 1976 after 40 years of
marriage. He was married again, in 1977, to Lilian Bombach Handlin. Dr. Handlin
is also survived by three children from his first marriage, David, Joanna Smith,
and Ruth Manley; four grandchildren; a great grandchild and a brother, Nathan.
In 1965, Dr. Handlin lent his weight as the nation’s most eminent immigration
scholar to the effort to pass legislation abolishing an immigration quota
system, in place since the 1920s, which discriminated against many groups,
including Asians. He testified before Congress, and was said to have played an
important behind-the-scenes role. The legislation was adopted.
His views on immigration became less popular in the late 1960s and ’70s, when a
younger generation of scholars began to examine historic events through the
prisms of race, class and gender. He clashed with fellow scholars who were, to
him, distorting American history by viewing it through the politics of the
Vietnam-era culture war. His support for the war frequently placed him at odds
with students and fellow members of the faculty.
But Dr. Handlin changed the way Americans view American history, said James
Grossman, a historian and executive director of the American Historical
Association. “He reoriented the whole picture of the American story,” he said,
“from the view that America was built on the spirit of the Wild West, to the
idea that we are a nation of immigrants.”
Oscar Handlin, Historian
Who Chronicled U.S. Immigration, Dies at 95,
State Lawmakers Outline Plans
to End Birthright Citizenship,
January 5, 2011
The New York Times
By JULIA PRESTON
WASHINGTON — Conservative legislators from five states opened
a national campaign on Wednesday to end the automatic granting of American
citizenship to children born in the United States of illegal immigrants.
At a news conference here timed to coincide with the start of a new Congress,
Republican state lawmakers introduced two model measures curtailing citizenship
rights for children of illegal immigrants. The legislators said the measures
would be introduced in at least 14 states.
They acknowledged that the state bills were not likely to have a practical
effect anytime soon, since they will quickly be challenged as unconstitutional.
But the legislators — from Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South
Carolina — said they chose the first day of a new Republican-controlled House of
Representatives to start an effort that they hope will end with a Supreme Court
decision on birthright citizenship, and spur legislative action in Washington.
In a separate effort, Representative Steve King of Iowa, a Republican who will
be chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, said Wednesday
that as soon as the new House members were sworn in, he would introduce a bill
to eliminate birthright citizenship for children when both parents were illegal
But it was the state lawmakers’ initiative that moved the highly emotional issue
of birthright citizenship, which had long been marginal in the immigration
debate, to the front of the Republicans’ immigration agenda in the 112th
“We are here to send a very public message to Congress,” said Daryl Metcalfe, a
Republican state representative from Pennsylvania. “We want to bring an end to
the illegal alien invasion that is having such a negative impact on our states.”
The states’ campaign brought an outcry from immigrant, Latino and
African-American civil rights organizations. Several of them announced they had
formed a coalition to bring court challenges to any birthright citizenship laws
that passed state legislatures.
“For the first time since the end of the Civil War, these legislators want to
pass state laws that would create two tiers of citizens, a modern-day caste
system,” said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Human
and Civil Rights, which includes many African-American groups.
His group is in the new coalition, along with the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People and the National Council of La Raza, among others.
The lawmakers were challenged even before they finished speaking. The news
conference, held at the National Press Club, was interrupted four times by
protesters who stood one by one to brandish posters and accuse the lawmakers of
intolerance and racism. One protester cited welcoming words for immigrants
inscribed at the site of the Statue of Liberty.
A brief scuffle erupted when a man who was a supporter of the state initiatives
seized one protester by the arm and tried to march him out of the room. Also
present were supporters of the lawmakers, who clapped and cheered.
One model measure the lawmakers presented was a bill creating a new definition
of state citizenship, in addition to national citizenship, which would exclude
babies born in the state with two illegal immigrant parents.
The second measure was a compact between states, in which they would agree to
issue distinctive birth certificates to babies whose parents could not show
legal immigration status.
The state bills would also deny citizenship to newborn children of hundreds of
thousands of legal immigrants who live in the United States on temporary visas.
The right to United States citizenship for everyone born on American soil is
described in the 14th Amendment. The state legislators argued that one phrase in
the amendment — which guarantees citizenship to everyone born or naturalized in
this country “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” — signals that it was not
intended to apply to children of immigrants who do not have lawful status.
The 14th Amendment was adopted in the wake of the Civil War to guarantee
citizenship to the American-born children of freed slaves. In the debate on
Wednesday, there were frequent references to the Civil War.
Daniel B. Verdin, a senior Republican state senator from South Carolina, called
illegal immigration “a malady of epic proportions,” which he said compared with
“the malady of slavery.”
The state lawmakers said illegal immigrants had a dire effect on state budgets.
Mr. Metcalfe said that Pennsylvania was facing “nothing less than an invasion,”
and that Congress had a constitutional responsibility to protect states from
Kris Kobach, a constitutional lawyer who was recently elected secretary of state
of Kansas, said the proposed laws were carefully written to avoid usurping
federal authority, but to “revive the concept of state citizenship.”
But opponents of the proposals said that determining American citizenship was
clearly a federal matter in which states had no legal role.
“We believe these laws cannot survive constitutional scrutiny,” said Lucas
Guttentag, director of the immigrants’ rights project of the American Civil
Liberties Union, another group in the new coalition.
Mr. King, the Iowa congressman, said the birthright citizenship bill he would
introduce might not be his first priority for passage. He said he would focus
first on legislation to crack down on employers who hire unauthorized immigrant
Several House lawmakers said Mr. King’s citizenship bill could pass, although it
was likely to be defeated in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority.
“I would have said a year ago that Republicans would not embrace anything so
drastic,” said Representative Charlie Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat who is chairman
of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “But anything is possible now.”
Some Latino Republicans expressed dismay that the party was making birthright
citizenship a central element of its immigration policy.
“Rather than attacking babies born in the United States and the Constitution, we
demand they target our suffering economy,” said Deedee Garcia Blase, a
spokeswoman for Somos Republicans, a Texas-based organization of Latino
State Lawmakers Outline
Plans to End Birthright Citizenship,
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