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The 50% American: Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terror - Hardcover

 
9781589010673: The 50% American: Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terror
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President Bush's attempts to liberalize immigration laws in the United States have raised serious questions about our national identity. Just what does it mean to be an American? What exactly holds us together as a people? What, if anything, can be done to strengthen the national attachments of millions of new immigrants who arrive on our shores every year--especially in an age of terrorism? Political psychologist Stanley Renshon attempts to answer these questions by looking at recent immigration trends and how federal, state, and local governments have dealt with volatile issues such as language requirements, voting rights, and schooling. Concerned that America is not doing enough to help immigrants appreciate the history and culture of their new homeland, Renshon makes several dramatic policy proposals to help transform a) the current status of dual citizenship and b) foreign attachments to national attachments. For instance, Renshon argues that American citizens should be actively discouraged from voting in foreign elections--which many current immigrants are allowed to do--and that they should be discouraged from serving in a foreign military service. While some will interpret Renshon's project as a politically conservative manifesto against liberal cosmopolitanism--and, indeed, he is highly critical of multiculturalism at the expense of patriotism--he is hard to categorize. At two points he lauds Bill Clinton's "One America" program; he also savages the Wall Street Journal for advocating open borders, and critiques George W. Bush's immigration policies. This is bound to be controversial, and will likely find an enthusiastic audience among thinking conservatives.

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Review:
"Renshon has made himself an expert on the issue of dual citizenship in the United States, but the book goes considerably beyond the specific issue of dual citizenship to deal generally with immigration policy and to ponder deeply the issue of what integration in a society means, what fosters it, what hinders it, and the relation of laws, regulations, and policies regarding dual citizenship to this larger question of the making of Americans." - Nathan Glazer, professor of education and social structure, emeritus; Honorary Associate of Adams House, Harvard University "Stanley Renshon draws on his formidable skills as both a political scientist and psychologist to illuminate questions that should be of deep concern to all of us. What does it mean to be an American? What are our obligations as citizens of the United States? What should we expect of newly arrived immigrants who seek the privileges of citizenship? Should we allow dual citizenship on the assumption that continuing to be a loyal citizen of Korea or Mexico is in no way incompatible with being a good American? Even a well-informed reader will find surprising information in The 50 per cent American and powerful arguments conveyed in lucid, vigorous prose. With immigration issues looming large on the political horizon, this book could hardly be more timely." - Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Professor of History, Harvard University "Starting from the strange concept of 'dual nationality,' Renshon gives us a comprehensive and disturbing survey of the current condition of American national identity. This is a valuable, thoroughly documented source book for any American concerned about our dwindling sense of common citizenship." - John Derbyshire, National Review columnist"
Synopsis:
The United States is the only nation in the world that allows its citizens to hold one or more foreign citizenships, vote in another nation's elections, run for or be appointed to office in another country, and join the armed forces even of a nation with interests hostile to those of the United States while retaining their citizenship. These policies reinforce the often already strong emotional, political, and economic ties today's immigrants retain to their home countries. Yet few studies have addressed what dual citizenship means for the United States as a nation and the integration of immigrants into the American national community. Is it possible to reconcile two different nationalities, cultures, and psychologies? How can we honor immigrants' sense of identity without threatening American national identity? What do Americans have a right to expect of immigrants and what do immigrants have a right to expect of Americans? In The 50 per cent American political psychologist Stanley Renshon offers unique insight into the political and national ramifications of personal loyalties.

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  • PublisherGeorgetown University Press
  • Publication date2005
  • ISBN 10 1589010671
  • ISBN 13 9781589010673
  • BindingHardcover
  • Number of pages296

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