In higher education and as a nation, we value diversity and inclusivity. A diversity that in great part stems from the immigrant roots of our nation. Whether we immigrated here escaping British or French oppression in the early 1600’s or arrived as unwilling forced labor in the 1700’s. or escaped the Irish potato famine or Southern Italian economic oppression in the 1800’s, or the domination of the Ottoman empire or Nazi oppression in the early part of the 1900’s, or arrived as refugees of the wars in Surinam and Vietnam, or fled the absence of economic opportunity in India, or ideological repression in China in more recent years ― we are unequivocally and irrevocably a nation of immigrants.
However in Washington, D.C. today (and across the country as a whole) immigration ― its benefits, its conditions, and its limits ― is on the forefront of policy debates. Maybe even on on trial. But before we attempt to respond we must recognize that there is a true concern in many parts of our nation today regarding the threat, real or exaggerated, of terrorism, crime, social costs, and jobs lost as a result of foreign nationals on US soil (and abroad). Concerns that are driving a vitriolic polemic.