The United States has been the single most important destination of international migrants during the last two centuries. But it has actually received less than one-fifth of the total worldwide flow. Studies of American immigration rarely examine, or even acknowledge, this context. This essay takes a broader international angle to explicate the processes of migration, development, and integration in themselves, show their interconnection and global dimensions, and situate the American experience in this global perspective. This frame of reference serves to ascertain the singularities and commonalities of the North American case showing both the validity and limits of the notion of American exceptionalism.