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A Nation Of Immigrants
It’s a politician’s bromide—and it also happens to be a profound truth. No war, no national crisis, has left a greater impress on the American psyche than the successive waves of new arrivals that quite literally built the country. Now that arguments against immigration are rising again, it is well to remember that every single one of them has been heard before.
February/March 1994 | Volume 45, Issue 1
Every Passover Jews the world over sit down to the Seder table to retell the story of Exodus from Egypt in order to pass on to their children and renew in themselves their sense of who, what, and why they are. There was a time when the Fourth of July was an occasion for re-creating the days of the American Revolution, in order to serve the same purpose for Americans. (I hope that it makes a comeback, despite the assaults of a misguided “multiculturalism.”)
Now is the proper occasion for retelling the immigration story. So let us begin at the beginning, with the statement that offends the new exclusionist.