For the 4th of July 2010, the online edition of the New York Times asked selected writers and historians to describe how immigrants today cele-brate Independence Day in the United States, and to discuss whether this had changed over different generations.1 The answers, mostly in the form of personal family memoirs, varied across a wide range: one recounted the enthusiastic patriotism of his immigrant parents; another expressed minority migrants’ ambivalence about what the day was actually commemorating; and another concluded that some immigrants’ indifference was the best indicator of their actual assimilation. The newspaper elaborated: ‘How immigrants define themselves and how the laws determine who is welcome and who is not have played out in various ways throughout American history.'2 That a day of commemoration, whatever the role of the memories associated with it, could be indicative of immigrants’ incorporation is not an exceptional characteristic of a society as aware of its immigration history as the United States.3 The nexus between memories and migrant incorporation is a typical, widespread and significant feature of any country with immigration. Newcomers have to negotiate their place in their new countries as much as receiving societies must continually discuss and remould their policies, not least in relation to those who have arrived most recently.
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- The Memory and Migration Nexus: An Overview
J. Olaf Kleist
- Palgrave Macmillan UK