The Book

A Nation of Nations

Tom Gjelten

Tom Gjelten


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dr-OmeishLike thousands of other non-European immigrants who came to the United States after the 1965 immigration reforms, Esam Omeish and his family settled in Fairfax County, Virginia. In 1970, Fairfax County was more than ninety percent white, with an African-American minority population that was just overcoming decades of segregation and prejudice.

Over the next forty years, the county was fundamentally transformed by immigration. By 2015, nearly one out of three county residents were foreign-born, and the demographic change had political as well as cultural implications. In 2009, Omeish ran for the Virginia House of Delegates. He was defeated by another immigrant, Mark Keam.

Immigration Stories

The Alarcón boys

Victor Alarcón, Sr., followed his sisters-in-law to the United States even though he had no contacts there and spoke no English.


Like most Americans, Tom Gjelten comes from an immigrant family. His grandfather, Nicolai Ordahl, was born and raised on a farm in Norway.

Anwar Omeish

Muslims are now one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the USA.