Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Let's start by establishing that Heaven's Door, as a work of non-fiction, does not have characters in the way we normally think of a novel or other work of fiction having characters. Heaven's Door is a book by George Borjas that explores the economic benefits and consequences of immigrants coming to the United States. At a time when immigration policy is being heavily debated more than ever before, or at least it seems that way, this book is an important work to consider for discussion and debate.
The book looks at policies regarding immigration to the United States, as well as the economic factors surrounding immigration. As this is a book written about policy, it understandably spends time focusing on policymakers, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who was president when this book came out in 1999. Other notable figures mentioned include Madeline Albright, who herself was an immigrant and served as Secretary of State under Bill Clinton. Because the State Department plays an important role in the processing of visas and maintaining diplomatic relationships with other countries, the Secretary of State is a key person in immigration debates. For this reason, the book discusses James Baker, a Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush. All of these people played key roles in immigration policy in the US.
In another sense, the "characters" also include the immigrants mentioned in the book, as well as the broader stories of immigrants coming to this country and the skills and backgrounds they bring to the United States.
All in all, the characters in this book can be seen as the policymakers who are focused on throughout the book, the ones that keep the "story" of the immigration debate alive and going. And in fact, much of what these figures said and the beliefs they held can be seen as both timeless and curious during our current immigration debates.