The New Faces of America
Immigrant networks are recasting the U.S. in unforeseen ways.
In 1871 Walt Whitman foresaw the way human beings would relate to each other in our era. As he put it in "Passage to India," a poem in the ever expanding Leaves of Grass, "Lo, soul, seest thou not God's purpose from the first? The earth to be spann'd, connected by network."
Whitman's lines evoke for me how an immigrant can come to a big, expensive city like New York or San Francisco without papers, without money, without housing and make a new life. Or how other immigrants come in at the top of the scale and find jobs whose salaries start at several times the median income. The answer lies in the network: They go to their tribes, their villages in the city. Whether it is an association of software engineers, an alumni association or a church group, immigrants live and die, work and marry, pray and play within the network.