With the essay-report ‘This land is our land’, Suketu Mehta has written a ‘Manifesto of the Immigrant’ in which he reviews how the world has been built, and enriched, with those who have been able to leave their land in search of a better life
Donald Trump’s mother, Mary Anne McLeod, traded a town in Scotland for New York to meet her two sisters and work as a housekeeper. Several decades earlier, the Bavarian Friedrich Trump had landed on Ellis Island, he was 16 years old, he was illiterate, he did not speak English and it is hard to believe that it crossed his mind that he was going to become the grandfather of a future president of the United States . However, the last thing that occurred to the young and entrepreneur Friedrich might be that his grandson would be the person who would do the most to ban immigration: the politician who made it law that migrant minors – like himself – were separated from their parents once the border is crossed. Trump has not only said outrageous things. He has become the model for politicians like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán capable of declaring that “all terrorists are basically migrants.” He costs a lot less to believe an outrage than to go to the trouble of digging up facts to form an opinion. Today we consider entrepreneurs who make money – what an expression. At the time of Trump’s grandfather and mother, it was those who undertook a life capable of expanding the world, their own and collective.
This Land is Our Land (Random House Literature) is not just an essay on immigration, history, justice, economic and cultural reasons or humanitarian causes. It is also the story, and the research of Suketu Mehta, who arrived with her parents in New York in the 1970s and who coined the term interlocal to describe the growing population that feels from two places at once. The book collects a lot of data: facts that show how economies prosper with the arrival of a young and willing workforce (that is immigrants) and how crime is always dominated by locals. It also contains answers: what an immigrant brings (wealth, culture and stability), why they are owed (it is a form of reparation) why they are feared, and the clumsiness, ignorance and inhumanity of opposing what will eventually come. .