The 50% American : Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terror by Stanley A. Renshon
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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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