Tamar Jacoby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tamar Jacoby, October 27, 2010

Tamar Jacoby (born 1954) is known primarily for her writing on immigration-related issues. She is also president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, an organization self-described as "a national federation of small business owners working to advance better immigration law."[1] Jacoby was a 2012 Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. [2]

Life and career[edit]

Jacoby was born in New York City, the daughter of Alberta (née Smith), a lecturer and film maker, and Irving A. Jacoby, a director.[3] Her father was Jewish and her mother was Christian, both "pretty much non-practicing".[4] She has described herself as being raised in a "liberal, cosmopolitan" family.[5] Her brother is documentary director Oren Jacoby. Jacoby graduated from Yale University in 1976, after which she became a staffer on the New York Review of Books. From 1981 to 1987 she served as a deputy editor of the op-ed page of The New York Times, and from 1987 to 1989 as a senior writer and justice editor at Newsweek. She has also been assistant to the editor at the New York Review of Books.

Her writing with regard to race relations and immigration has been published in numerous publications, including Commentary, Dissent, The Nation, The New Republic, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times Book Review, among other journals of political thought and newspapers of national or regional scope.

Her 1998 book, Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration (Basic Books), tells the story of race relations in three American cities—New York, Detroit and Atlanta.

More recently, Jacoby's career has been marked by an outspoken advocacy for policies that would liberalize America's immigration laws-which she believes is an essential policy shift in order to maintain the economic growth of the United States while preventing a brain drain to other nations-specifically, the passage of a broad guest worker program, which some critics have described as an amnesty proposal.

To this end, she has repeatedly praised President Bush's guest-worker legalization plan and engaged in numerous debates with critics of legalization such as Mark Krikorian[6] and John O' Sullivan.

In 2004, Basic Books published an anthology edited by Jacoby, Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means To Be American, which expands upon these views, and gathers a diverse array of writers who advocate some form of absorption and assimilation of recent immigrants. The same year, she was confirmed by the United States Senate to a seat on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In addition to her written work and studies, Jacoby has also taught at various educational institutions, including Cooper Union, The New School For Social Research, New York University and Yale University.

Jacoby is a recipient of the 2010/2011 Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. Jacoby also won an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 1974 to research and write about "What happened to racial integration in the United States."[7]

In May, 2011, Jacoby and Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio debated, as the "against" team, the motion "Don't give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," with former Colorado Republican Congressman and Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo and Kansas Secretary of State and primary author of the Arizona immigration law (2010) Kris Kobach as the "for" team. The debate was broadcast by NPR and hosted by Intelligence Squared US with John Donvan as moderator. Tancredo and Kobach were declared the victors in the debate based on before and after polling of the live in-attendance audience, mostly because most of the self-identified undecided audience members decided in favor of the motion at the end. A slight majority of the audience opposed the motion, 54% before and 52% after. The debate motion was a play on the most famous lines (without the "don't" and with "me," not "us") of Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" which is on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.[8]

At New America Foundation in 2011–12, Jacoby "will focus on issues of immigration and social cohesion" while retaining her positions at ImmigrationWorks.[2]


  1. ^ Jacoby bio page, ImmigrationWorks USA webpage. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  2. ^ a b "New America Foundation Announces 2012 Bernard Schwartz Fellows", NAF webpage, May 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/10/nyregion/alberta-jacoby-film-maker-80-lecturer-at-yale.html
  4. ^ http://edendale.typepad.com/weblog/2007/06/laff-director-o.html
  5. ^ http://zocalopublicsquare.org/thepublicsquare/2011/06/15/miracle-of-missionary-ridge/read/where-i-go/
  6. ^ "Debates: Tamar Jacoby v. Mark Krikorian" on Immigrants and the War on Terror, National Review, February 14, 2003 10:00 a.m.
  7. ^ 1974 Journalism Fellowship, Alicia Patterson Foundation webpage. No other information at page. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  8. ^ "About the debate", Intelligence Squared US immigration debate webpage, May 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25.

External links[edit]