Why you should care
Because a nation of immigrants can do much better.
Pooja Bhatia is an OZY editor and writer. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Economist, and was once the mango-eating champion of Port-au-Prince.
Full disclosure: We at OZY have a soft spot for immigrants.
It’s not just that the company, though based in the United States, has strived to be global from the moment it began. It’s personal. Some of us were born outside the United States, in Colombia or Ukraine or India or, yes, Canada. Some of our spouses were born in other countries. And plenty of us are second-generation Americans, which is to say that our parents came here from a different country and probably speak English with an accent.
And if not them — then our grandparents, or great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents or great-great-great-grandparents or great-great-great-great-grandparents. Just like the vast majority of the people who live here in the United States. And so: The president’s indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and his several-months-long ban on immigrants from a handful of majority-Muslim nations saddened us deeply. So did the chaos, confusion and humiliation he created for green-card holders this weekend.
It is a coincidence that today’s issue includes a profile of a scientist and Egyptian immigrant trying to bring democratic change to his homeland. But today, as the president’s order on immigration begins to wend its way through the courts, we very deliberately bring you some of our favorite pieces on newcomers, refugee seekers and the people who offer them sanctuary — or deny it.
A Recipe for a Melting Pot, by JFK runs down John F. Kennedy’s posthumously published pamphlet, which argued that the United States is, to its core, a nation of immigrants. It is also, alas, a nation of xenophobes.
The Saddest Ship Afloat, and America’s Response to Refugees takes us back to 1939, when the United States, fearing instability, turned away a ship full of people fleeing the Holocaust. Many consider it a dark stain on the national consequence.
A Very Refugee Thanksgiving tells the stories of some recent refugees as they settle in for their first Thanskgiving — the most quintessentially American holiday there is.