Dorothea Lange, Pledge of Allegiance, 1940s San Francisco Dorothea Lange, Pledge of Allegiance, 1940s San Francisco
Immigration, Public Policies, and Opportunity in America

Immigration has both immediate and historic relevance for Americans’ search for self-understanding. It raises questions about the meaning of nationhood, citizenship, and equality. We at the Jack Miller Center recognize that these difficult issues demand careful consideration for the sake of America’s civic culture.

The importance of understanding immigration is the reason we have compiled online resources and fellows’ writings about immigration and related topics. Our fellows have thought carefully about immigration from a variety of perspectives. Learn about the history of immigration, citizenship, multiculturalism, globalism, and nationhood.

Below is a collection of resources about immigration to America and its historical development. Browse these resources or jump from section to section by clicking the links below:

Selected online resources on immigration:

A Visual History of Immigration to America

Business Insider has created an animated map that tracks the history of immigration to the United States from the 18th century through modern times.

Watch the video on YouTube >>



Immigrants at Ellis IslandEllis Island and the History of American Immigration

The Ellis Island website provides both general historical content on immigration as well as resources on the Ellis Island immigrant experience. Its immigration timeline provides an overview of American immigration trends.

Click here to view the immigration timeline and click here to read about the history of Ellis Island >>



Debates on Immigration

American University’s Political Theory Institute and Brown University’s Political Theory Project have each held debates on issues surrounding immigration policy.

American University: “Immigration, What Should U.S. Policy Be?”

  Immigration is a divisive issue in U.S. politics. Americans are divided over who and how many immigrants to admit as well as how we should think about illegal immigration. Shikha Dalmia, of the Reason Foundation, and Ramesh Ponnuru, of The National Review, think through these issues.

Watch the video on YouTube >>


Brown University: “Open Borders? Immigration, Citizenship, and Nationalism in the 21st Century”

    David Miller, the Official Fellow and Professor in Social and Political Theory at Nuffield College in Oxford, and Joseph Carens, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, are two of the leading moral thinkers in political potential and limitations of human migration. Professors Miller and Carens present their unique perspectives on immigration and national identity.

Watch the video on YouTube >>



Conversations with Bill Kristol on Immigration

Board member Bill Kristol has interviewed both Edward Conard and Linda Chavez on the impact of immigration on the United States.

Edward Conard shares his perspective on why innovation is the key to America’s long-term economic vitality and how we can go about fostering it. He addresses what he describes as a shortage of properly-trained talent.

Watch the video on YouTube >>


       Linda Chavez explains why immigration remains a net benefit to the United States – and why we should address, improve, and streamline the immigration system.

Watch the video on YouTube >>



Children Pledging Allegiance, 1942“U.S. History – Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration” Digital Archives at Dominican University of California

The Dominican University of California’s Archbishop Alemany online library contains an expansive list of digital collections and databases on American immigration, our country’s variety of ethnic groups, and the immigrant experience.

Visit the Dominican University of California website >>



Harvard HallHarvard University’s Curiosity Collection: Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

This digital collection of historical materials from Harvard’s libraries, archives, and museums documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the start of the Great Depression. Concentrating heavily on the 19th century, the collection includes over 400,000 pages from more than 2,200 books, pamphlets, and serials; over 9,600 pages from manuscript and archival collections; and more than 7,800 photographs.

Explore the collection >>


*If you are a JMC fellow who’s published on American immigration or its history and controversies, and would like your work included here, send it to us at

Commentary and articles from JMC fellows:

Immigration and Diversity in U.S. History


John Agresto, “Remarks at the Naturalization Ceremony: United States Court of the District of Columbia.” (National Endowment for the Humanities, March 12,1985)

Documenting Americans: A Political History of National ID Card Proposals in the United States, Magdalena KrajewskaJonathan Bean, America’s Hidden Strength: Babies, Immigration.” (The Beacon, January 23, 2010)

David Bernstein, “The Law and Economics of Post-Civil War Restrictions on Interstate Migration by African Americans.” (Texas Law Review 76, 1998)

David Bernstein, “Lochner, Parity, and the Chinese Laundry Cases.” (William & Mary Law Review 211, 1999)

David Bernstein, “Two Asian Laundry Cases.” (Journal of Supreme Court History 24.1, March 1999)

Michael Douma (co-author), “The Impressment of Foreign-born Soldiers in the Union Army.” (Journal of American Ethnic History 38.3, Spring 2019)

Maura Jane Farrelly, Anti-Catholicism in America, 1620-1860. (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration: Principles and Challenges in America, Edward Erler, Thomas West, John MariniMagdalena Krajewska, Documenting Americans. A Political History of National ID Card Proposals in the United States. (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Sandra Peart (co-author), Statistical Prejudice: Eugenics and Immigration.” (European Journal of Political Economy 20.1, March 2004)

Rogers Smith, From a Shining City on a Hill to a Great Metropolis on a Plain? American Stories of Immigration and Peoplehood.” (Narrating Peoplehood amidst Diversity: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives, Aarhus University Press, 2011)

Thomas West, Immigration: The Founders’ View and Today’s Challenge.” (The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration: Principles and Challenges in America, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007)


Immigration Policy Today


Nicholas Capaldi (editor), Immigration: Debating the Issues. (Prometheus Books, 1997)

Immigration: Debating the Issues, Nicholas Capaldi (editor)Mirya Holman (co-author), “All Politics is Local? County Sheriffs and Localized Policies of Immigration Enforcement.” (Political Research Quarterly 70.1, 2017)

Charles Kesler, The Promise of American Citizenship.” (Immigration and Citizenship in the 21st Century, Rowman and Littlefield, 1998)

Joseph M. Knippenberg, “Statement of Joseph M. Knippenberg, Professor of Politics, Oglethorpe University and Member.” (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2012)

Shira Lurie, Why Donald Trump’s immigration play could backfire big time in 2020.” (The Washington Post, March 19, 2019)

Ashleen Menchaca-Bagnulo, Why Republicans Need to Change the Way They Talk about Immigration.” (Public Discourse, December 9, 2014)

Immigration & Citizenship in the 21st Century, Charles Kesler (contributor)Michael Munger (co-author), Chadha v. INS: Policy-making Outside the Constitution.” (Creating Constitutional Change, University of Virginia Press, 2004)

Lorraine Pangle, Multiculturalism and Civic Education.” (Multiculturalism and American Democracy, The University Press of Kansas, 1998)

Stephen Presser, The Rights of Aliens: ‘ We The People’ versus Human Rights.” (Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, May 2003)

Rogers Smith, Alien Rights, Citizen Rights, and the Politics of Restriction.” (Debating Immigration, Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Rogers Smith, Living in a Promiseland? Mexican Immigration and American Obligations.” (Perspectives on Politics 9.3, September 2011)

Debating Immigration, Rogers Smith (cont.)Rogers Smith, National Obligations and Non-Citizens: Special Rights, Human Rights, and Immigration.” (Politics & Society 42.3, 2014)

Rogers Smith (co-author), Nation-Building Narratives: Implications for Immigrants and Minorities.” (The Nation State and Immigration, Vol. III: The Age of Population Movements, Sussex Academic Press and Israel Democracy Institute, 2014)

Evan Taparata (co-author), #ImmigrationSyllabus: The Necessity of Teaching Immigration History Today.” (Journal of American Ethnic History 37.3, Spring 2018)

Joshua Zingher (co-author), Creating a Racially Polarized Electorate: The Fallout of Immigration Politics in California and Arizona.” (Politics, Groups, and Identities 4.4, 2016)


Theories of Citizenship


William Allen, “Making Citizens.” (Claremont Review of Books III.3, Summer 2003)

William Allen, The Truth About Citizenship: An Outline.” (Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law 4.2, Summer 1996)

Public Policy for Democracy, Marc Landy (contributor)Alec Arellano, Tocqueville on Intellectual Independence, Doubt, and Democratic Citizenship.” (The Review of Politics 82.1, Winter 2020)

Nicholas Capaldi, “Varieties of Citizenship and the Moral Foundations of Politics.” (The Ethics of Citizenship in the 21st Century, 2017)

Robert Koons, “A country, not merely an idea.” (The Washington Times, June 27, 2017)

Marc Landy, Citizenship and Public Policy.” (Public Policy for Democracy, Brookings Institution Press, 1993)

Lawrence Mead, “Immigration: The Cultural Dimension.” (Society 2, 2016)

Arthur Milikh, “Immigration, Citizenship, and Cosmopolitanism.” (The Public Discourse, January 6, 2016)

Rediscovering the Democratic Purposes of Education, Thomas Pangle (contributor)Michael Munger, Coercion, the State, and the Obligations of Citizenship.” (Public Choice 152.3/4, September 2012)

Thomas Pangle (co-author), What the American Founders Have to Teach Us About Schooling for Democratic Citizenship.” (Rediscovering the Democratic Purposes of Education, University Press of Kansas, 2000)

Rogers Smith, Birthright Citizenship and the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 and 2008.” (University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 11, 2009)

Rogers Smith, The Challenges Facing American Citizenship Today.” (PS: Political Science Politics 38.4, October 2005)

Rogers Smith, Citizenship and Membership Duties Toward Quasi-Citizens.” (Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, Oxford University Press, 2017)

Civic Education and the Future of American Citizenship (Elizabeth Kaufer Busch & Jonathan White eds.)Rogers Smith (co-author), Citizenship Without Consent: Illegal Aliens in the American Polity. (Yale University Press, 1985)

Rogers Smith, The Meaning of American Citizenship.” (This Constitution: Our Enduring Legacy, Congressional Quarterly Press, 1986)

Rogers Smith (co-author), “The Question of Birthright Citizenship.” (National Affairs, Summer 2018)

Geoffrey Vaughan, Citizenship and American Identity.” (City Journal, July 30, 2019)

William Voegeli, “Diversity and its Discontents.” (Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2017)

Jonathan White and Elizabeth Kaufer Busch (editors), Civic Education and the Future of American Citizenship. (Lexington Books, 2012)


The U.S., Globalism, and Foreign Nations


John Agresto, Rediscovering America: Liberty, Equality, and the Crisis of Democracy. (Asahina and Wallace Press, 2015)

Rediscovering America, John AgrestoDaniel Burns, “Right Book, Wrong Title.” (The American Interest 14.2, August 30, 2018)

Eric Malczewski (co-author), Politics as a Cultural Phenomenon.” (Handbook of Politics: State and Society in Global Perspective, Springer, 2010)

Rajan Menon, NATO, RIP.” (The American Interest IV.2, November 1, 2008)

Rajan Menon, Pious Words, Puny Deeds: The ‘International Community’ and Mass Atrocities.” (Ethics and International Affairs 23.3, September 2009)

Rajan Menon, The Responsibility to Protect: It’s Fatally Flawed.” (American Interest 8.6, June 12, 2013)

Rajan Menon, Why Humanitarian Intervention Still Isn’t a Global Norm.” (Current History 116.786, 2017)

Michael Munger, Think Globally, Act Irrationally: Recycling.” (Econlib, Liberty Fund, July 2, 2007)

Ethics in International Affairs, Andrew Valls (editor)Deborah O’Malley, Would Kagan Defer to Foreign Law? (Townhall, June 29, 2010)

Alex Orwin, Can Humankind Deliberate on a Global Scale? Alfarabi and the Politics of the Inhabited World.” (American Political Science Review 108.4, November 2014)

Melvin Schut, “What Britain might learn from the colonies: Scotland, the EU and Democratic British Liberty.” (Quadrant 59.7/8, July/August 2015)

Andrew Valls (editor), Ethics in International Affairs: Theories and Cases. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000)

Kevin Wagner (co-author), “Digital information consumption and external political efficacy in Latin America: Does institutional context matter?” (Journal of Information Technology & Politics 14.3, 2017)

Kevin Wagner (co-author), “Internet freedom and social media effects: democracy and citizen attitudes in Latin America.” (Online Information Review 40.5, 2016)


*If you are a JMC fellow who’s published on American immigration or its history and controversies, and would like your work included here, send it to us at



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