Immigration, the movement of peoples from one region or nation to another, is generating new interest among scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and among those outside the academy as well. The partisan rancor surrounding recent immigration legislation before the US Congress, and the furor raised of late in France and the Netherlands over Europe’s failure to economically and culturally assimilate its Arab and Islamic peoples, indicate how divisive the subject is. A profile of Liberia’s newly elected president, in the March 27 New Yorker, noted the continuing divide between the indigenous tribes of the interior and the Americo-Liberian descendants of the former slaves who established the country as an independent state in 1847. Throughout the world diaspora communities have become the norm rather than the exception.
This issue of Focus highlights the wealth of primary sources and documentation on immigration amassed by CRL. These materials support the study and analysis of a phenomenon that has challenged public policy for centuries, while creating diverse, enlightened societies throughout the world.