Is America a ‘Nation of Immigrants’?

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 56

By Mark Krikorian and Jeremy Carl on June 2, 2022

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On this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, Jeremy Carl, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, discusses America’s history and values as they pertain to immigration. Carl stresses the importance of understanding what it means to be a nation and asks the question: Is America a nation of immigrants or a nation with immigrants?

Carl suggests that it might be more accurate to refer to America as a nation of settlers, since the original colonists did not integrate themselves into the existing Native American society, but rather formed their own new society which eventually formed American culture. Prior to the late 1960s, those immigrating to the U.S. mirrored this American culture.

Carl draws an interesting comparison between Emma Lazarus, the author of The New Colossus, the poem engraved on the 1903 bronze plaque located on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty ("Give me your tired, you poor…"), and today’s “limousine liberals”. Lazarus and many of today’s liberals treat the idea of a “nation of immigrants” as an ideology to push for higher levels of immigration. Carl walks the audience through an abbreviated immigration history lesson to make his points.

In his closing commentary, Mark Krikorian, the Center’s executive director and host of Parsing Immigration Policy, highlights a new analysis from the Center, which shows that the foreign-born population has exploded to a record 47 million, an increase of two million just since Joe Biden’s inauguration. This increase has been driven largely by illegal immigration and new reporting by the Center's Todd Bensman reveals that the large illegal flow appears likely to continue. A border conveyor belt continues to shuttle thousands of illegal aliens into the interior of the U.S. by bus and plane, despite the nominal presence of Title 42 expulsion orders. Policies have consequences, and the rapid growth of the foreign-born population will continue until federal policy changes.


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Jeremy Carl is a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute.


Jeremy Carl at the Claremont Institute

What Does a ‘Nation of Immigrants’ Mean?

Foreign-Born Population Hit a Record 47 Million in April 2022


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".