Hacer América and the American Dream – an article on the history of migration in the Americas

Yesterday, the online history magazine Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective published an article by Professor Steven Hyland on the history of migration. Here are the first several paragraphs, followed by the link to article in its entirety. The editors did a great job and found some wonderful images and charts.

This past summer the American public awoke to the spectacle of thousands of children from Central America, some as young as five, crossing into the United States without authorization. News accounts detailed these children’s treks: traveling on the tops of trains, sleeping in the open air, and navigating violent encounters with criminal gangs and corrupt officials.

The images of these children herded into detention centers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas launched a public debate and stirred criticism of the Obama administration.

Responses to their arrival varied widely. Some towns, cities, and counties opened their doors and institutions while other jurisdictions declared these children unwelcome.

And those hoping for a dispassionate and sober discussion on immigration policy—what to do with the roughly 11.5 million people living here in the United States without authorization—have been disappointed.

Although the images of these children walking through the Americas are startling, they are part of a much older and more enduring story. Mass migration of humans across the globe is a signature feature of the modern world, and the Americas have long been at the forefront of these complex, worldwide dynamics.

The highly personal act of migration both in the past and today reveals much about the functioning of the world economy and how sending, receiving, and transit societies fit into it. As in the past, all regions of the world are involved in large-scale migration.

We hope you like it.

Hacer América and the American Dream: Global Migration and the Americas | Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective


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