Cover image for Unwelcome strangers : American identity and the turn against immigration
Unwelcome strangers : American identity and the turn against immigration
Reimers, David M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xii, 199 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1610 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JV6483 .R45 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An examination of all sides of the immigration argument in the USA. The text investigates the history of American attitudes toward immigration and offers a perspective on the crisis in the late 1990s.

Author Notes

David M. Reimers is professor of history at New York University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Reimers's book is a good summary of the major elements in anti-immigration sentiment since 1965, with a particular emphasis on the years since 1986. After a brief overview of immigration policy and debate "from the earliest days of European colonization," Reimers (New York Univ.) describes figures and organizations that have dominated discussion in recent decades. Their major arguments are rendered under four thematic headings: immigration is bad for the environment; the governmental systems for regulating and overseeing immigration have broken down; immigration poses an economic threat, either in terms of jobs taken from citizens or public monies unfairly spent on noncitizens; and immigration poses a threat to the cohesiveness of American culture and institutions. This is a neat delineation of otherwise untidy strains of public discussion. Most striking are the strange bedfellows this debate has created (liberal and left-leaning multiculturalists, the Christian Right, the ACLU, and the National Rifle Association all oppose immigration restriction, though for very different reasons). Reimers works very hard to achieve "balance," but he replicates many arguments wholesale without commenting on their fidelity to the facts. He seems less interested in analyzing various positions than in merely documenting them. Still, many will find this a useful book. All levels. M. F. Jacobson; Yale University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
1 Toward Exclusion: American Immigration Policy Before World War IIp. 5
2 The New Movement to Restrict Immigrationp. 25
3 Overpopulation, Immigration, the Environment, and the New Restrictionismp. 43
4 A Broken Immigration Systemp. 65
5 Old Wine in New Bottles: The Economics Debatep. 87
6 Why Can't They Be Like Us? The Asimilationist Issuep. 109
7 A New Immigration Policy, 1994-1997?p. 131
Conclusionsp. 151
Notesp. 155
Some Special Reading Listsp. 183
Indexp. 187