Its clear that many “Americans by Birth” are deeply threatened by “Americans by Choice,” also known as “immigrants.” But, why?
Traditional explanations cite job fears, cultural threat, fear of the unknown, not to mention simple racism. All surely play their role.
But let me suggest that some of the reaction is explained by the fear insight buried inside “Americans by Birth,” that they have actually shown less committement to this country that “Americans by Choice,” most of whom have displayed determination, ambition, risk-taking, and sometimes extraordinary courage to get here. (I certainly exclude my own privileged path here from this description.)
I wonder if “Americans by Choice,” particularly those already public about their status, should explicitly make the point that: “We Americans by Choice thank you, Americans by Birth, for building this into the country we want so much to stay in and help continue to build.”
That is a hard message to reject, and while perhaps implicit in the desire to stay, not necessarily yet heard by those in fear.