Immigrants Like Those Who Came Before Them

America is a country that endlessly reinvents itself, working the alchemy that turns "them" into "us." That is the American secret: motion, new combinations, absorption. The process is wasteful, dangerous, messy, sometimes tragic. It is also inspiring. The story, in its ideal, is one of earthly redemption.

The idea is reckless, taking in so many strangers, hurling all those contradictory genes and customs and temperaments into the same room. It goes against human nature. Strangers are not supposed to set up civilizations together. A nation must arise out of a tribe, out of affinities of blood. At one time, if some...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!