First Person

Haven America or Fortress America?


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The moon rises behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City on Sept. 13. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
The moon rises behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City on Sept. 13. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Harvard historian Jill Lepore on the long and tortured history of the U.S. immigration debate.

The argument raging in the United States these days over immigration policy is part of a broader debate Americans have been having almost since the country’s founding: Should the United States serve as a safe haven for foreigners, or is it for Americans alone?

The Harvard University historian Jill Lepore tackles the immigration issue in a book published earlier this year titled This America: The Case for the Nation. The book traces the evolution of the United States’ relationship with nationalism and makes the case of the enduring importance of American civic ideals.

Lepore is our guest this week on First Person

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes


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