Book Review: “A Nation of Immigrants” by John F. Kennedy
I am proud to say, “I am an American, the daughter of immigrants.”
If I had to write a book about my parents journey into the U.S. from Mexico, during the sixties, I assure you, it would be a snoozer. They experienced few barriers, actually none that I’m aware of, on their path to citizenship. And although my mother had the extra step of having to secure a sponsor, both my parents were able to easily secure Green Cards.
Blanca and Eduardo then did what so many hard-working immigrants before and after them have done, they worked hard (multiple jobs), learned English, made sacrifices, started a family and business, paid their taxes and thirty years later became U.S. citizens. They achieved the American Dream.
As their daughter, I remind myself every day of how much I am a beneficiary of their “good timing.” My education, my college, the freedoms and privileges I enjoy living in the United States, everything I am, I owe to their “good timing.”
The meaning of how much “timing is everything” became even more evident to me while reading John F. Kennedy’s A Nation of Immigrants. In it, Kennedy provides readers with a birds-eye view of the history of U.S. immigration and our country’s often times confusing and discriminatory immigration policies.
Kennedy starts at the beginning with the English colonists in 1607 and discusses how American culture reflects the contributions made by each wave of immigration, and then spends some time exploring the history of nativist groups that have evolved over time in response to new arrivals.
I recommend this book for all wanting a primer on U.S. immigration and immigration policy. I wonder if you’d be asking yourself the question I’ve been asking myself lately:
Why do we make it so difficult for people, who want to contribute, to also enjoy the freedoms and opportunities we have in this country? Have we forgotten that at one time, our parents, or grandparents were immigrants, too?
“The tenor and outcome of our national debate over immigration reform and the fate of undocumented persons in the United States will speak volumes about our national character and ideals. We hope good people will use this opportunity to move beyond merely the goal of tolerance” and desire for an orderly immigration system.”
Abraham H. Foxman, national director, Anti-Defamation League (Foreward of “A Nation of Immigrants”)
Ezzy is a mom, wife and the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. She loves to read, is the first in her family to attend college, and feels passionately about education, culture and social awareness. Find her blogging at www.ezzylanguzzi.blogspot.com.
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