Peter Schuck

Recent Articles

The New Immigration and the Old Civil Rights

The new immigration infuses America with new minority groups. This spells trouble for the old strategies of black uplift. New coalitions will require new concepts of disadvantage, affirmative action, and desert.

T he political rhetoric of civil rights-- its ideology, iconography, and martyrology-- has always kept the stirring black struggle for equality on center stage. At the same time, this rhetoric has treated the immigrant's drama as peripheral, rather like Shakespeare's (not Stoppard's) treatment of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. There are signs, however, that the audience's attention has begun to wander, diverted by the performaces of immigrant groups on other stags. These developments make the relationship between civil rights and immigration ripe for reexamination. The traditional civil rights coalition-- black, Jewish, and labor groups supported by liberal media, intellectuals, urban politicians, and (intermittently) Latino organizations-- succeeded in forging a common programmatica genda. Dominated by the policy preoccupations of black leaders, this agenda gave priority to governmental action designed to enlarge and protect the member groups' claims to legal, social, and political...

The Great Immigration Debate

Congress is once again rewriting the immigration laws. How wide, and to whom, should we open that Golden Door? What goals should our national immigration policy serve?

Like a great glacier carving valleys, feeding rivers, and depositing soil, immigration is reshaping America's character and future -- her economy, workforce, family structures, demography, culture, cuisines, languages, and politics. Yet of all the first-order policy issues facing the nation, this may well be the hardest one for us to approach rationally. We are hardly alone, of course. Immigration also arouses fierce passions in France, Spain, Japan, and most other nations. But Americans feel a special skittishness and ambivalence about the subject. Our self-contradictions abound. Defining ourselves as a nation of immigrants, we also view immigration as a threat. Defending our autonomy, we also invite millions of strangers to come here, transforming our society Demanding secure borders against illegal workers, we also advocate the free movement of goods, technology, and capital. Growing global interdependencies further muddy the debate, making it harder to know who "we" are and what "...