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Are Immigrants More or Less Welcome Today in the U.S. Than in the Past?

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Immigration in the U.S.

The United States has historically been a major destination for immigrants. In 2014 alone, 1.3 million individuals immigrated here from all over the world to start a new life.

However, in times of economic hardship and periods of instability around national security, immigrants become the target of nativism – the policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants.

Despite the U.S.’s long history of immigration, nativist sentiments among American politicians date as far back as the 1700’s. Learn more about the impact of nativism on racial and immigrant groups in the United States in this cartoon from the Lowdown.

Andy Warner

Today, these nativist views are targeted largely toward Muslim and Mexican immigrants. We have seen a rise in these sentiments as the election approaches. Some politicians have used alarming rhetoric about the immigration experience while others look for a path to policy reform.


Andy Warner

Here’s where the Democratic and Republican parties stand, and how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have approached the issue over the course of the campaign. Note how the candidates’ views sometimes differ from the official party platforms. For example, Donald Trump’s call for a travel ban on Muslims is well known, but this stance doesn’t appear anywhere in the official Republican platform.

Alternatively, there are efforts to make a more inclusive society for immigrants and look at the U.S.’s history of immigration as something to embrace. These initiatives include  FWD.us, which seeks reform that grants opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs, and “Drop the I-Word Campaign“, which aims to shed negative perceptions of undocumented individuals in the media.

What do you think of the way immigrants are treated in the United States? Are immigrants more or less welcome today than in the past?

Learn More…

Article: The Lowdown/KQED
Fear of Foreigners: A History of Nativism in America

Article: The New York Times
For Immigrants, America Is Still More Welcoming Than Europe

Article: Vox
37 Maps That Explain How America is a Nation of Immigrants

Opinion: The New York Times
Immigrants Welcome Here

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