An updated, penetrating, and balanced analysis of one of the most contentious issues in America today, offering a historically informed portrait of immigration. Americans have come from every corner of the globe, and they have been brought together by a variety of historical processes--conquest, colonialism, the slave trade, territorial acquisition, and voluntary immigration. In this Very Short Introduction, historian David A. Gerber captures the histories of dozens of American ethnic groups over more than two centuries and reveals how American life has been formed in significant ways by immigration. He discusses the relationships between race and ethnicity in the life of these groups and in the formation of American society, as well as explaining how immigration policy and legislation have helped to form those relationships. Moreover, by highlighting the parallels that contemporary patterns of immigration and resettlement share with those of the past - which Americans now generally regard as having had positive outcomes - the book offers an optimistic portrait of current immigration that is at odds with much present-day opinion. Newly updated, this book speaks directly to the ongoing fears of immigration that have fueled the debate about both illegal immigration and the need for stronger immigration laws and a border wall.