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A Nation Built by Immigrants Who Feel Like They Don’t Belong

Special Contributor Ray Suarez shares the story of one of the most important contributions from immigrants: the building of the transcontinental railroad.

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The debate over who counts as an American and who doesn’t is as old as the nation. African Americans, indigenous peoples, and immigrants have all struggled to belong in a nation they helped to build. Enslaved African Americans built our monuments to democracy. Indigenous iron workers raised and riveted the beams of the buildings creating New York’s skyline. Special Contributor Ray Suarez shares the story of one of the most important contributions from immigrants seeking acceptance: the building of the transcontinental railroad.