Three immigrant stories that illustrate what makes our country great.
There’s something Haley Barbour reminded me of called the Gate Rule. The former Mississippi governor said it’s the first thing you should think of when you think about immigration. People are either lined up at the gate trying to get out of a country, or lined up trying to get in.

It says something about the health of a nation when they’re lined up to get in, as they are, still, with America. It says, of course, that compared with a lot of the rest of the world, America’s economy isn’t in such bad shape. But it says more than that. People don’t want to come to a place when they know they’ll be treated badly. They don’t want to call your home their home unless they know you’ll make room for them in more than economic ways.

And so this July 4, a small tribute to American friendliness, openness, and lack of—what to call it? The old hatreds. They dissipate here. In Ireland, Catholics and Protestants could be at each other’s throats for centuries, but the minute they moved here, they were in the Kiwanis Club together. The Mideast is a cauldron, but when its residents move here, they wind up on the same PTA committee. It sounds sentimental, but this is part of the magic of America, and the world still knows it even if we, in our arguments, especially about immigration, forget.

So, three stories of American friendliness, openness and lack of the old hatreds.

WSJ
7/5/12