Noorani’s New Book Offers ‘Powerful Portrait of a Changing Nation’

Communications Associate

April 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In today’s political environment, it is easy to believe the immigration debate is the hard left vs. the hard right.

Building on the work of the National Immigration Forum, Executive Director Ali Noorani took a different approach through his new book, “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration” (Prometheus Books, available Tuesday).

From Republican sheriffs to farmers to evangelical pastors, Noorani interviewed nearly 60 faith, law enforcement and business leaders across the country in order to learn what Americans really think about immigrants and immigration. What he heard was surprising and often heartening.

Noorani goes beyond the headlines in travels that take him all over the country. Touching down in Indianapolis; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Pasadena, Texas; Salt Lake City; and beyond, Noorani spoke with Mormon leaders, attorneys general, Trump voters, Clinton voters, technology entrepreneurs and others to understand how Americans are having an honest conversation about immigrants and immigration to the nation.

These voices offer insight and inspiration — and perhaps even a practical, intelligent way forward for people looking to reach across political divides. Especially now, when many Americans feel their identity, culture and values changing shape, the collective message from these diverse voices is one of hope for the future.

Noorani will begin a nationwide tour to highlight the book beginning Tuesday in New York City and Thursday in Washington, D.C., and continuing with events across the country.

Additional Praise for “There Goes the Neighborhood”

“Throughout the book, Noorani reminds us all — vegetable farmers to tech engineers, culturally isolated coastal liberals and middle American conservatives, residents of big cities and small towns — that diversity is both difficult and important … Solid advice for an anxious and angry polity on how to talk about a growing cultural challenge.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful portrait of a changing nation.”

RON BROWNSTEIN, senior editor, the Atlantic, and senior political analyst, CNN

“This is an essential book to understand the fear, challenges, and opportunities on both sides of the immigration debate. ‘Elections matter. Culture matters more,’ writes Ali Noorani. He’s right. Nothing will change until ‘white America sees changes to their neighborhoods as a net positive to their lives.’ This book, in many ways, explains why Trump won the election and why an honest debate on immigration is urgent. Your neighborhood depends on it.”

JORGE RAMOS, senior news anchor, Noticiero Univision and America with Jorge Ramos

“There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country — they are a part of our daily lives, working hard to improve America. They are not so different from us. We are all immigrants or children of immigrants (if we look back to some point in our family’s past) who are trying to find a place to belong, and we all deserve that chance to belong. In ‘There Goes the Neighborhood,’ Ali Noorani opens our eyes to this reality and helps us understand that the debate on immigration is not a problem for us to fix but an opportunity for us to seize.”

JOSÉ ANDRÉS, chef/owner of Minibar by José Andrés and ThinkFoodGroup

“Political paralysis has stymied commonsense reforms to our immigration system for more than a decade. But as Noorani illuminates, the desire for a functional, humane system runs deep and has drawn nontraditional allies to the reform effort. Noorani brings to life the perspectives of law-enforcement, business, and faith leaders who view immigrants as vital community members who fuel our economy and enrich our culture. The courage and wisdom demonstrated by these leaders inspires us all.”

LAURENE POWELL JOBS, president, Emerson Collective

“Ali Noorani has brought unlikely allies together in faith, law enforcement, and business communities to find common ground on the complex issue of immigration, helping neighborhoods adjust to, and even embrace, their changing identities and welcome newcomers eager to contribute to our nation’s economy. This is must-reading for all Americans who want to understand where we go from here, and why we must continue to be a nation of immigrants to make America truly great.”

BILL RICHARDSON, former governor of New Mexico, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and U.S. Secretary of Energy

“Noorani goes beyond the rhetoric to examine all sides of the immigration debate. Now, more than ever, we must harness the resource of immigration to ensure that America continues to be the most innovative and entrepreneurial nation. Noorani shows how we can adapt to changing demographics for the good of the nation, without giving in to fear.”

STEVE CASE, chairman and CEO of Revolution, and author of The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

“Ali Noorani has managed the impossible with his new book: giving hope that the immigration wars we’ve fought over the last few decades can be peacefully resolved — one person, one neighborhood, one community at a time. The book is rich in detail about the real people most of us see only through statistics. Never was a book more needed than this one is now.”

LINDA CHAVEZ, former Reagan White House official and president of the Becoming American Institute

“During this period in which some of the latent, dark elements of our national character are once again coming to light, Ali Noorani’s effort to appeal to our ‘better angels’ in this book is an important step to help engage in a constructive conversation on the issue of immigration.”

GREG ZOELLER, Indiana attorney general, 2009–2017

“Thoughtful, inspiring, and urgent, ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ puts a human face on immigration and its challenges while presenting compelling, commonsense solutions. Noorani’s precedent for bringing together business leaders, law enforcement officials, and the faith community serves as a prototype for a breakthrough, where leaders, policymakers, and citizens from across the political spectrum can find common ground toward pathways we know to be right. Our legacy as a nation depends on our collective action. Noorani shows the way.”

STEPHAN BAUMAN, former president and CEO of World Relief and co-author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis

“The relevance and timeliness of ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ cannot be overstated. As America grapples with issues of identity, culture, and belonging, Ali Noorani brings us a book that combines personal experience, data, and current events to tell a story of a country transformed. How we navigate this tumultuous time will be a testament to the deeply held American values of inclusion and integration.

“On the heels of a national election that brought to the forefront questions of what it means to be American in the twenty-first century, this is a captivating account of the challenges and promising practices across the country that give us hope for the future.

“This is not a book about immigration. It is a book about a country transformed by technology, globalization, and demographic shifts. This insightful look into how communities across America have responded gives us hope that we can move beyond ideology and divisiveness. ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’ is a blueprint for moving forward.”

MONICA LOZANO, chairman and CEO, ImpreMedia (ret.)

“With the grace of a natural storyteller, Ali Noorani takes us on a tour of a better America. From one end of the country to another, he introduces us to people who have negotiated strongly held beliefs, sometimes their own prejudices, to build a society confident enough to welcome the stranger. This is a keenly observed travelogue combined with big-picture social analysis, all told with humor and insight. A must-read for anyone concerned with the politics and policy of immigration in the United States today.”

ROBERTO SURO, professor of journalism and public policy, University of Southern California

278 pages • ISBN 9781633883079 • Hardcover $25.00 • On Sale: April 4, 2017
Ebook ISBN 9781633883086 • Ebook $11.99