Immigration has reached sufficient size and duration to bring permanent changes to American society, but American society has not fully come to grips with those changes. When the economy is growing and unemployment is down, immigration does not get consistent attention. But when facing an economic crisis and protracted unemployment, immigration generates near hysteria. Many other realms of public policy—education, health care, foreign trade, telecommunications, law enforcement, national security—have been reshaped by big initiatives while the mechanisms that are supposed to regulate migration have muddled along with patchwork responses like border fences and deportation campaigns. In conclusion, this chapter highlights three challenges that seem immediate and compelling. The first involves the abilities of journalists and scholars to describe what is happening. The second involves policy frameworks, and the last relates to the ways our disciplines interact. Changes under way in both journalism and academia create opportunities to address these challenges.
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