We often hear that the United States is a nation of immigrants. The occasional subtext behind this statement, however, is that European settlers founded this country, and that their contemporary descendants are the rightful owners of this land (i.e., the “real” Americans). As such, any other kind of immigrant is bothersome, or even menacing.
However, the U.S. Census Bureau recently revealed that a lot of us hanging out in these amber fields of grain have solid roots in other lands. Approximately 36.7 million of the nation’s population (12 percent) were born in foreign countries. About 33 million (11 percent) are native-born with at least one foreign-born parent.
This means that about 23 percent of the U.S. population (including your most humble blogger) are first-generation Americans or immigrants. As such, it is clear that the immigrant experience — long celebrated so long as the story stopped circa 1920 — is still an ongoing saga.