“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”
So wrote Kennedy in his timeless essay, A Nation of Immigrants, published by Harper Perennial in this updated edition at a time when the U. S. veers from its historic role as a beacon for those seeking opportunity and refuge.
The foundation of this country was built by strivers, dreamers and thinkers in the name of progress. Kennedy sought to improve the policies of his time by pushing for the elimination of the national origins quota system which was achieved with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
Today we must honor those American values and reject a return to immigration policies which violate the very essence of our nation’s commitment to inclusion and acceptance.
We were strangers once too.
We cannot stand by silently, but must take inspiration from A Nation of Immigrants to speak out loudly to ensure fair, humane and compassionate approaches to immigrants and refugees.
In the introduction and foreword, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, grand-nephew of President Kennedy, and Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, each share stories of their own families’ struggles and remind us of the ties that bind us all together.