Our country accepts a diverse immigrant population. Expats come to America from a variety of religious and sociological backgrounds. And they come already conditioned by the political philosophy of their homeland. Some immigrants grew up in the same type of civilization as ours – a Western society that to one degree or another (albeit imperfectly) has espoused the democratic project.
Other immigrants – like myself – who have crossed a civilizational boundary as well as a national border come from nations that may at best be ambivalent toward democracy, and at worse antagonistic to it. We cannot assume that what drives immigration is merely a revulsion to antidemocratic climates and philosophies, or a thirst for liberty as our founders conceived it. Immigrants do not fully abandon their previous lives on our shore, and part of what they bring is a set of presuppositions about political, religious and state power. One thing is evident from our current cultural and political discussions: Unlike the immigrants of yesteryear, today’s expats as a whole are not seen to be assimilating and integrating into a unified American society.
Read the rest of the article at The Philos Project and follow the new column The Immigrant Mind.