We Won’t Succeed at Making America Great Again Until We Become Great at Making Americans Again

Statue of Liberty signpost in New York CityAssimilation has become a dirty word. From their mansions in gated communities, the denizens of Hollywood and high-tech billionaires preach diversity, cultural relativism, and inclusion. But those of us who live on the ground just scratch our heads and wonder what nation on Earth is more inclusive than the United States?  Our message to immigrants isn’t “Stay home, we don’t want you.” Rather, it is “Come here with something to contribute, and a desire to adopt American values, and we’ll give you a chance at the life you’ve only dreamed of.”

One of the major problems the American public has with immigration has nothing to do with the immigrants themselves. Rather it is directed at the societal elites who have declared all cultures equal and decided that it is racist to expect immigrants to adapt to the culture of the United States. Somehow, it has become almost criminal for Americans to express pride in their exceptionalism.

This is ironic because American exceptionalism is what pulls most legal immigrants toward the United States. The majority of people who lawfully make their way here, and aren’t re-settled under a government program, are intentionally looking for what the U.S. offers – which, by definition means that they were dissatisfied with things in their native country. America’s economic opportunity, peaceful elections and a fair justice system all play a part.

A desire to benefit from all that is unique about the United States drove generations of immigrants to assimilate, transcend their roots and become something new – Americans.  It’s why, during World War II, many Americans born abroad fought on behalf of the United States, not for their countries of birth. No other country on the face of this planet has been so effective at incorporating newcomers into its communities and polity.

American voters sent Washington’s business-as-usual politicians a very clear message at the polls this past November. But we won’t succeed at making America great again until we become great at making Americans again. No matter what the media, Hollywood, or academia say, assimilation should not be a dirty word.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Great article, just one observation … Diversity is part of the American Dream recipes n we became a power. And diversity comes in different shades at different history tines to ours n envisioning into the future.

    Matt the question is can we make it as people as Germany has shown in the last 10 years … Nuclear plants to Solar ones, …Facility extinction in the next 100 years to still hi e people the chance to go there till study free for the well being of Germany as to what they represent/believe.

    I know you understand the depth of the implications of what I just wrote as an observation…

    I will ignore any comments that might resemble that if an AOE or monkey …..L…………S………..erc

  2. avatar

    Yeah, Illegals Currently Work Our Construction Jobs

    Trump should give them Green Cards to train legal American citizen replacements [for about a month grace]….then fire ’em….implement eVerify and they can’t work in America anymore. No cost deportation!

  3. avatar

    There were tons of Americans who were born elsewhere or had foreign parents from Germany or Italy and fought in WW2. Now we have polls showing that a majority of Mexicans born there and living here consider Mexico as their first priority. Nor did those long ago immigrants come here and get on the welfare rolls because there weren’t any, not like now. You raised your own family, not the taxpayers.

    Speaking of voting, few of the national media are noting that a majority of the precincts in Detroit were unable to be recounted because there were more votes counted than the number of people who showed up to vote. But quick. Look over there. It was the Russians, no it was fake news, it was aliens from Pluto. I didn’t realize what we avoided until Hillary recently showed up again with that sour look on her face and I thought how lucky we were not to have to watch that dismissive frown for four years.

    • avatar

      Assimilation and Americanization is what made “The American Experiment” and our melting pot work. Given that most of human history suggests that this couldn’t be made to work, it is extremely dangerous for the US to ignore the breakdown of the assimilation process among many, but not all immigrants coming here today whether illegally, of legally.

      As you mentioned it is dangerous that so many people coming here from Mexico are not assimilating, especially since many believe that much of the Southwestern US rightfully belongs to Mexico, and was stolen from Mexico by the US. The fact that many of these people are settling in the Southwestern US has a lot of long-term negative implications.

      9/11 and other terrorist attacks as well as other events in the news also makes it obvious that many immigrants from the Muslim world also are not assimilating. To say that we have to continue with what we are doing now because we had immigration in the past ignores the fact that what is happening now is not how our past immigration system worked.

      • avatar

        Just the fact that communications and travel have so changed the world is the biggest difference. When people crossed an ocean many never saw their relatives again, just exchanging the occasional letter. Now we permit dual citizenship and that’s another factor. They want what their own country doesn’t offer and yet their loyalty is to that country. No nation has done what ours has done, which is allow an invasion of people who don’t share our values and vote for the complete changing of the society we have built.