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Destination America


4 Hours


America is a nation of immigrants. Their faces have changed, not their reasons for coming: in flight from poverty, persecution, war – drawn by the shimmering promise of America. This series explores the forces that brought them here in such extraordinary numbers. 

The Golden Door

The Golden Door explores the economic forces that brought immigrants to America by the tens of millions, featuring the stories of the Irish, the Norwegians, and Mexican immigrants. 

The Art of Departure 

Creative spirits have come to America from all over the world, drawn to the possibilities of a free society, but it has never been easy to leave home. The Art of Departure tells why they come here, featuring Fang-yi Sheu, principal dancer with the Martha Graham company, the Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, and famed composer Arturo Toscanini.

The Earth is the Lord’s

They left behind a world that didn’t want them, and came to America to worship in freedom. The Earth is the Lord’s tells the story of the Amish and Mennonites, the Hassidic Jews, and the Tibetans. 

Breaking Free: A Woman’s Journey 

Some feared for their lives; others were searching for new opportunities. Breaking Free: A Woman’s Journey explores the reasons that have drawn women to America, featuring stores from Guatemala, Italy, and Iran.


“David Grubin’s richly textured four-hour PBS documentary on immigration takes in, among many others, migrant workers from south of the border; modern dancers from Taiwan; and women who flee second-class citizenship or servitude in Guatemala, the Middle East, and even Italy. This is the sort of television that puts faces on stats, but it’s also almost elegiac: These are the doors we are bolting behind us.” 

– John Leonard, New York Magazine

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