Immigration

Immigration is one of the most frequently discussed and multivalent concepts in scholarship on the U.S. experience. A subcategory within studies of “migration,” “immigration” refers in the American Heritage Dictionary to the activity of “enter[ing] and settl[ing] in a region or country to which one is not native.” The usage note at “migrate” adds, “Migrate, which is used of people or animals, sometimes implies a lack of permanent settlement, especially as a result of seasonal or periodic movement. Emigrate and immigrate are used only of people and imply a permanent move, generally across a political boundary.” As this definition indicates, many kinds of relocation may be described in everyday vernacular as “immigration.” In partial contrast, academic studies of immigration generally focus on geographic relocations across political boundaries, usually of nation-states. These relocations are often imagined as permanent, thus differentiating immigrants from groups such as temporary migrant laborers, tourists, …

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