Much of the fervor fueling the anti-immigration debate is shaped by the belief that immigrants—legal and otherwise—are somehow a threat to our national identity. Americans, some critics believe, venerate a set of ideals and attitudes that are distinctly American. But do immigrants honor these same values?
They do, says Deborah Schildkraut, associate professor of political science at Tufts University, who investigates such questions in her continuing research on immigration in America. In her most recent work, Schildkraut surveyed Americans’ attitudes towards immigrants, and the opinion of immigrants and ethnic minorities themselves.
Schildkraut found that immigrants and their descendants embrace basic American values—the love of freedom, the desire for economic advancement, the promise of the American Dream— even as they celebrate and honor their own heritages.