There are few literary voices today who explore the intricacies of human migration better than Suketu Mehta. It’s a subject he knows well—as a journalist, but also as an immigrant in the U.S. who has lived in cities all over the world and descends from a family of “mercantile wanderers.” To him, migration is just life.
But today, intense deliberation over immigration is a prevailing concern. All across the globe—but especially in Western countries, from Spain to the U.S. to the U.K.—countries are closing their borders to all refugees and immigrants, with devastating results. In his new book, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, Mehta delivers an emotional, timely polemic railing against this trend of fear, discrimination and hatred that has gripped so many countries, especially ours.
In a heroic effort to dispel racist, destructive myths surrounding immigration, Mehta travels from city to city speaking to people at places like Friendship Park at the Mexican-American border. He also visits other countries like Morocco and the United Arab Emirates to hear the heartbreaking stories of regular people trying to migrate for a better life.
With humanity and keen insight, Mehta explores why people are migrating with higher frequency and explains why immigrants throughout history have always elicited reactionary views and backlash. But most importantly, he explains why we should stop falling for the same hateful rhetoric over and over again. Drawing from the history of racism and colonialism, he makes a case for why refugees and migrants have a positive influence on society instead of a negative one. His simple answer to anyone who asks why immigrants are coming here is: We are here because you were there.
Pulling from history, personal experiences and intimate profiles, Mehta examines the backlash to immigration, what’s behind it and why we have good reasons to be hopeful about the future.