by Suketu Mehta
There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and rancor these days than immigration. In This Land is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta offers a reality-based polemic that vitally clarifies the debate. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the globe, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by fear of immigrants. Ranging from Dubai and Morocco to New York City, Mehta contrasts the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, domestic workers, and others, and he takes readers on a heartbreaking trip to San Diego and Tijuana, where a border fence divides families and damages lives. Throughout, Mehta shows why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality in large swaths of the world: when today's immigrants are asked, "Why are you here?" they can justly respond, "We are here because you were there." And now that they are here, Mehta contends, they bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land is Our Land is an urgent and necessary intervention, and a literary argument of the highest order.