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Although America is unquestionably a nation of immigrants, its immigration policies have inspired more questions than consensus on who should be admitted and what the path to citizenship should be. In Americans in Waiting, Hiroshi Motomura looks to a forgotten part of our past to show how, for over 150 years, immigration was assumed to be a transition to citizenship, with immigrants essentially being treated as future citizens--Americans in waiting. Challenging current conceptions, the author deftly uncovers how this view, once so central to law and policy, has all but vanished. Motomura explains how America could create a more unified society by recovering this lost history and by giving immigrants more, but at the same time asking more of them. A timely, panoramic chronicle of immigration and citizenship in the United States, Americans in Waiting offers new ideas and a fresh perspective on current debates.