Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and regular commentator on MSNBC and NPR, discusses his essential book, There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration.
This compelling approach to the immigration debate takes the reader behind the blaring headlines and into communities grappling with the reality of new immigrants and the changing nature of American identity. Ali Noorani, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, interviews nearly fifty local and national leaders from law enforcement, business, immigrant, and faith communities to illustrate the challenges and opportunities they face. From high school principals to church pastors to sheriffs, the author reveals that most people are working to advance society's interests, not exploiting a crisis at the expense of one community. As he shows, some cities and regions have reached a happy conclusion, while others struggle to find balance.
Whether describing a pastor preaching to the need to welcome the stranger, a sheriff engaging the Muslim community, or a farmer's wind-whipped face moistened by tears as he tells the story of his farmworkers being deported, the author helps readers to realize that America's immigration debate isn't about policy; it is about the culture and values that make America what it is. The people on the front lines of America's cultural and demographic debate are Southern Baptist pastors in South Carolina, attorneys general in Utah or Indiana, Texas businessmen, and many more. Their combined voices make clear that all of them are working to make America a welcome place for everyone, long-established citizens and new arrivals alike.
Especially now, when we feel our identity, culture, and values changing shape, the collective message from all the diverse voices in this inspiring book is one of hope for the future.