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Romesh Ratnesar

Can Immigrants Save American Democracy?

A conversation with Leah Boustan, co-author of “Streets of Gold,” about what big data reveals about the economic success of immigrant families and why newcomers are the most patriotic Americans.    

The newest and truest Americans. 

The newest and truest Americans. 

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America

This is one of a series of interviews by Bloomberg Opinion columnists on how to solve the world’s most pressing policy challenges. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Romesh Ratnesar: Immigration is an issue that continues to generate heated political and scholarly debate. You’re the co-author, with Ran Abramitzky, of a new book, “Streets of Gold,” which uses the power of big data to provide an economic history that challenges some of the conventional wisdom about the US immigrant experience. People have studied the economic impact of immigration in America for a long time. What’s different about the way in which you approached this topic?