This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto

This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto

Book Launch and Talk with Author Suketu Mehta (NYU) and Nancy Foner (CUNY Hunter College)

Thursday, June 6, 2019, 7:00 pm

$10 general ● $5 students/members/seniors ● 12$ at the door

There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. Mehta juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others, from Dubai to Queens, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality on large swaths of the world: When today’s immigrants are asked, “Why are you here?” they can justly respond, “We are here because you were there.” And now that they are here, as Mehta demonstrates, immigrants bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention, and a literary polemic of the highest order.

Currently on display at the Center for Jewish History, the exhibition When The Door Closed, They Carried the Torch addresses advocacy in the age of Immigration restriction, exploring how Jewish individuals and organizations continued to help immigrants in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The exhibition showcases unique materials from the Max James Kohler Papers, the collection of the National Council for Jewish Women, and more. The AJHS has recently finished processing the records of the organization HIAS – The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the organization that helped families, both Jewish and non-Jewish, immigrate and resettle in the US since 1881.