Walls and Welcome Mats: ­Immigration and the American Dream

­Twenty-First Century. Feb. 2023. 120p. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781728423999.
Gr 7 Up–This comprehensive introduction to the history of immigration in the United States starts with a full chapter outlining the history of the founding years with compelling primary documents. The next chapter is organized by the major national, ethnic, and religious waves of immigration from every continent, from the 1800s to the present. Text inserts include detailed explanations of key concepts, such as refugees, the American Dream, and Japanese American internment; several profiles of revered immigrants in politics, the arts, and sciences; and very recent Pew Research infographics. Well-recounted chapters on the long history of backlash against immigrants include under-taught history, such as the 1850s Know Nothing Party movement and the multiple federal acts to limit, stop, open, or control immigration across centuries. Myths regarding undocumented migrants are debunked, and a fresh perspective is offered that perhaps people who are xenophobic are actually metathesiophobic, or fear change. There is a clear explanation of the ever-shifting DACA program, and balanced sections on areas of debate, such as the effectiveness of sanctuary cities and ICE workplace raids. The Trump-era backlash is also recounted in a chronological, systematic way, and included is an explanation for the vast amounts of misinformation on the subject since, “Immigration is an issue that stirs emotions and political passions.” Highly readable, well-designed nonfiction with an appeal to the reader to consider their own stance: wall or welcome?
VERDICT An excellent trade book for classrooms moving towards teaching with text sets and a perfect update for all library collections.

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