In This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto, Suketu Mehta (Maximum City) paints a picture of a global, multicultural world enriched by immigrants and the migration of both people and their customs. Mehta, himself an immigrant from India who has been an American citizen for three decades, counts himself as one of the "lucky ones." Surveys estimate that while a quarter billion people now live in a country other than the one they were born in, another three-quarters of a billion wish to migrate and would do so if they had a chance. "Why do we move?" asks Mehta. "Why do we keep moving?"
This Land Is Our Land is an attempt to answer these questions. Mehta explores the numbers behind migration--how many are on the move now, and where--across the globe, from Mexico and Central America into the United States; from Norway into Russia; from the Gold Coast to Europe. He then moves to the why: why people leave (climate change, war, the persistent and lingering impact of colonialism and modern-day "commercial" colonialism) and why those same people are so feared by others. While his account of immigration will most resonate with those already in favor of pro-immigration policies, Mehta's concrete suggestions for addressing immigration narratives offer the potential to carry this conversation beyond a self-selecting audience of readers. At the end, after all, it is not about policy or politics, but about people. "I am not calling for open borders," Mehta argues. "I am calling for open hearts." --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm