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An entrenched fear of immigrants has shaped America from the colonial era to the present. This essay examines American xenophobia to identify some of its defining features. Xenophobia has been built upon the nation’s history of white settler colonialism and slavery. It has become part of the systemic racism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination that have defined American society. It has adapted to and shaped successive migrations and settlement of peoples from around the world. It has endured because it helps the country’s most important institutions function and thrive: American capitalism, American democracy, and American global leadership.