5 BackStory Episodes on Citizenship and Immigration
Immigration and citizenship have been on the forefront of the political debate most of this year and especially recently. On Tuesday, President Trump announced his intention to end birthright citizenship with an executive action. This comes one day after the Pentagon announced plans to send more than 5,000 American troops to the Southwest border to address the “invasion” of the United States by Central American asylum seekers.
None of the ideas underpinning these events are new. Who should be allowed into the United States and what constitutes an American citizen have been fiercely contested issues since the country’s founding. Check out these episodes of BackStory for the History Behind the Headlines:
Around three quarters of a million people applied to be American Citizens in 2017. But what does citizenship actually mean? The way Americans have defined citizenship has changed over time and many have found their citizenship challenged, undermined, resisted and even revoked. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Nathan and Joanne discover the path to citizenship has never been easy.
Brian, Joanne, and Nathan wrestle with a long-running tension in our country’s history: what it means to assimilate and “become American.” We’ll explore the 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is room today.
On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Brian, and Joanne look back at sweeping immigration restrictions in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how immigrant communities navigated these changing rules.
In the second episode of our two-part series on immigration, we explore how the federal government monitors and polices the undocumented. We’ll consider the origins of illegal immigration, as well as how the government’s deportation powers have grown over time.
In August of 2018, officials in Puerto Rico reported that over 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. One year after the disaster, Brian, Ed and Nathan take a look at the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Are Puerto Ricans really Americans in the eyes of the federal government?