Nov 2, 2022

Romano Lecture Explores the Myths and Realities of Immigration

Here are some “stories” that seem popular today, especially amongst our U.S. politicians:

1. today’s wave of immigration is unprecedented in scale.
2.  today’s immigrants are more likely to become part of a permanent underclass — and to end up in jail. 
3.  today’s immigrants make no effort to become American, and don’t integrate with the larger culture.

All of the above are false statements, according to Leah Boustan, professor of economics and director of the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University. A native of Lexington, Mass., Boustan is an alumna of both Princeton and Harvard universities, and her work centers around large-scale issues, such as immigration, the Great Migration of southern Blacks to northern American cities, the economic effects of natural disasters and more.

With Stanford University Economics Professor Ran Abramitzky, Boustan co-authored the recent book Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success. The researchers applied big data to the question of immigrant success and integration, aided by a research partnership with and a deep-dive into thousands upon thousands of records.

In a recent lecture at Binghamton (New York) University, Boustan set the facts straight and backed them up with statistics. One by one, Boustan exploded today’s popular myths surrounding immigration, showing that today’s trends are well within the norms of American experience.

In other words, today’s immigrants are about the same as your immigrant ancestors.

You can read more about this interesting lecture in an article by Jennifer Micale published in the Binghamton (New York) University web site at:

A book review of Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success by Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan may be found at:

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