BY ESTHER J. CEPEDA
CHICAGO -- In a year in which immigrants have been dragged through the mud and certain politicians have called on them to be driven from this country, it's ironic (and heartening) that six of this year's Nobel laureates are American immigrants.
Five of them were born in Great Britain, the other in Finland, and all are affiliated with top-tier U.S. universities like Princeton, MIT and Northwestern University.
Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, a Scottish-born researcher at Northwestern who won the prize in chemistry along with French and Dutch researchers, told the political website The Hill: "It's particularly pertinent to have these discussions in view of the political climate on both sides of the pond at the moment." The naturalized U.S. citizen concluded, "I think the United States is what it is today largely because of open borders."
He needn't have equivocated -- that's absolutely historically correct. We can look back through our centuries of welcoming immigrants and it's generally seen as an unqualified good.
The problem is that conflicting political agendas, media accounts and advocacy organizations' casting of immigrants as archetypically good or evil -- unlawfully present drug smugglers and violent criminals or angelically humble, poor, hardworking and striving for the American Dream -- leave out the vast majority of immigrants who don't fit neatly into either stereotype .