History pays homage to the spirit of the immigrant — to the strength and courage, the tenacity and zeal of famous wanderers from Moses to Columbus. Like these figures, immigrants today brave enormous odds in search of a better life. Unlike their predecessors, the pilgrims of our time are as likely to be shunned as celebrated.

A wave of anti-immigrant sentiment has taken hold in the United States, stirred in part by the large number of newcomers, about 9 million legal and 3 million illegal immigrants in the past decade, according to the new AAP policy "Health Care for Immigrant Children" (AAP Committee on Community Health Services. Pediatrics. 1997;100(1):153-156).

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