CHAPTER ONE Introduction We cannot deny that we are a nation of immigrants. Over the decades, waves of immigrants have come to our nation, whether as enterprising individuals seeking economic opportunity or as refugees fleeing oppression. They came to the United States with ambitions to succeed in an open and free society. They came not to kick back and relax, nor to depend on government hand- outs, but rather to achieve success and do well for themselves, their families, and, ultimately, the communities and the nation in which they reside. No matter the industry that employs them, where they come from, where they live, and how they earn a living, immigrants have made a significant impact on our lives, our society, and our economy. They have shaped the history of the United States and will be shaping our future as we move forward in the decades to come. Immigrants will also play a significant role in the success or downfall of our nation. This book examines the facts surrounding immi- gration and the forces that influence immigration policy. Today as always, immigrants comprise an essential piece of American life. The United States is home to the largest foreign-born population in the world and immigrants are employed in almost every economic sector across the country. American attitudes, while broadly supportive of immigration across time, have changed periodically over the course of American history as a result of economic trends, political strife, and the words and actions of thought leaders in industries, think tanks, politics, and government. We argue that regardless of shifting political discourse, treatment of immigrants must reflect and applaud their critical roles in supporting and leading the economic, social, cultural, and political institutions of our civil society. Immigration, as a conduit for bringing new talent, ideas, and inventions into the country, promoting economic innovation, expanding the job mar- ket, and contributing to the diversity and creativity of the United States, is
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