Few things have shaped the American identity as decisively as the history of migration and immigration in the US. Our country is, as Walt Whitman once described, a “teeming nation of nations” — a place defined as much by our differences as our similarities, yet brought together by the shared belief in the possibility of a better life.
Throughout our history, our country has benefited greatly from the continuous arrival of new people. The influence of immigrant cultures is seen in our vibrant, multi-ethnic society. Yet we live in a time when the issue of immigration has emerged and become a sharply divisive issue politically. Skepticism about whether new immigrants will integrate into the fabric of our nation remains an ongoing theme in the public debate on immigration policy.