Joseph S. Nye Jr.
Courtesy: Shizuoka Shimbun

Joseph S. Nye Jr. is a professor at Harvard University and author of “Is the American Century Over?”

Immigration has become a key issue in this year’s U.S. presidential campaign. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico and has also made repeated calls for restriction of immigration by Muslims. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has responded that religious restrictions on immigration are inconsistent with American values and counter-productive in terms of winning the assistance of moderate Muslims in defeating terrorist attacks.

Ironically, immigration is one of the bright spots about America’s position in the world. The United States is one of the few developed countries that are projected to avoid demographic decline and keep its share of the world’s population, partly as a result of immigration. Population alone does not determine national power, but it is an important component, particularly if those human resources are educated and assimilated.

Popular fears over assimilation and the effect of immigration on a coherent sense of American identity are nothing new in American history.

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