Real Americans

Joseph O’Neill in the New York Review of Books:

“I claim the right to the United States, for myself and my children and my uncles and cousins, by manifest destiny.” The claimant is Suketu Mehta, in This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto. The reference to manifest destiny isn’t merely trolling. Mehta’s thesis is that extensive migration from poor parts of the globe to the US is as inevitable and justified as the westward migration that built this country. He goes on:

This land is your land, this land is our land, it belongs to you and me. We’re here, we’re not going back, we’re raising our kids here. It’s our country now…. We’re not letting the bastards take it back.

It’s our America now.

You’ll have spotted that Mehta isn’t asking for a benevolent, liberal-American accommodation of the immigrant. He doesn’t even mention the Declaration of Independence (though he does mention the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Rather, he is asserting a right of migration that can override the right of nation-states to keep people out. His point of view is the migrant’s, not the native’s.

More here.

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