Title

The Declaration of Independence and Immigration in the United States of America

Department

Political Science & International Affairs

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, and immigration policy has always been controversial. The history of immigration in the United States is contrasted in this article with a normative standard of naturalization (immigration policy) based on the Declaration of Independence. The current immigration debate fits within a historical pattern that pits an unrestricted right of immigration (the left) against exclusive, provincial politics (the right). Both sides are simultaneously correct and incorrect. A moderate policy on immigration is possible if the debate in the United States gets an infusion of what Thomas Paine called "common sense."