Imigration Essay

This essay has a total of 3282 words and 13 pages.



For many, immigration to the United States during the late 19th to early 20th century
would be a new beginning to a prosperous life. However there were many acts and laws past
to limit the influx of immigrants, do to prejudice, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Later on into the 20th century there would be laws repealing the older immigration laws
and acts making it possible for many more foreigners to immigrate to the United States.
Even with the new acts and laws that banned the older ones, no one can just walk right in
and become a citizen. One must go through several examinations and tests before he or she
can earn their citizenship. One man who has experienced immigrating into the United
States is Charles B. Wang, an immigrant from China that has made himself a
multibillion-dollar fortune in the computer industry. The Chinese Americans who
originally faced extreme racism on the west cost are spread across the nation today and
most have kept their culture.

Many immigration laws and acts were placed against foreigners to control the influx of
immigrants arriving on the American shores. The first of these was the Chinese Exclusion
Act of May 6, 1882. (3,1098) Although directly affecting only a small group, it was the
turning point of the U.S. immigration policies. Prior to this act no significant number
of free immigrants had been barred from the country. Once the Chinese Exclusion Act had
been placed, further limitations on the immigration of ethnic groups became standard
procedure for more than eight decades .(3,1098) Since the arrival of the first Chinese
Immigrants, racist hostility towards the Chinese always existed. (3,342) They were
predominantly male laborers, concentrated in California. (3,342) They were vital to the
development of western mining, transportation, and agriculture.(3,342) By 1876 enough
political pressure existed to cause a congressional investigation. (3,342) An 1880 treaty
gave the United States the unilateral right to regulate, limit or suspend the immigration
of Chinese laborers, canceling the right of Chinese to enter the country. (3,1098)
Congress the suspended the immigration of Chinese laborers for twenty years, but President
Chester A. Arthur vetoed the bill, arguing that a “shorter experiment” was more
prudent.(3,343) Congress quickly complied and made a ten-year bill that the President
signed on May 6, 1882. (3,343) The Act suspended immigration of Chinese laborers for ten
years while exempting teachers, students, merchants, and tourists. (3,343) It also denied
all Chinese persons the right to become naturalized citizens. (3,1098) The law was renewed
for a second ten-year period in 1892 and then made “permanent” in 1902. (3,343) Chinese
Exclusion Act had set a precedent for many other immigration laws and acts to come.

The Immigration Act of March 3, 1891 was the first comprehensive law for national control
of immigration. (3,1098) It established the Bureau of Immigraion under the Treasury
Department to administer all immigration laws (except the Chinese Exclusion Act). (3,1098)
This Immigration Act also added to the inadmissible classes. The people in these classes
were inadmissible to enter into the United States. (3,1098) The people in these classes
were, those suffering from a contagious disease, and persons convicted of certain crimes.

The Immigration Act of March 3, 1903 and The Immigration Act of February 20, 1907 added
further categories to the inadmissible list. (3,1141) Immigrants were screened for their
political beliefs. (3,1141) Immigrants who were believed to be anarchists or those who
advocated the overthrow of government by force or the assassination of a public officer
was deported. (3,1141) This act was made mainly do to the assassination of President
William McKinley in 1901. (3,1140)

On February 5, 1917 another immigration act was made. (3,1098) This Act codified all
previous exclusion provisions and added the exclusion of illiterate aliens form entering
into the United States. (3,1098) It also created a “barred zone”(Asia-Pacific triangle),
whose natives were also inadmissible. (3,1098) This Act made Mexicans inadmissible.
(3,1395) It insisted that all aliens pay a head tax of $8 dollars. (3,1395) However,
because of the high demand for labor in the southwest, months later congress let Mexican
workers (braceros) to stay in the U.S. under supervision of state government for six month
periods. (3,1395)

A series of statutes were made in 1917,1918, and 1920. (3,1141) The sought to define more
clearly which aliens were admissible and which aliens were deportable. These decisions
were made mostly on the aliens’ political beliefs. (3,1141) They formed these statutes in
reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which led to a Russian economic recession
and a surge of immigrants used to communistic ideals bringing along with them a red scare.
(3,1141) The Immigration act of May 26, 1924, consolidated all of the statutes and laws
in the past.(3,1141) It also established a quota system designed to favor the Northwestern
Europeans because others were deemed less likely to support the American way of
life.(3,1141) The act also barred all Asians as aliens ineligible for citizenship in the
U.S. (3,343)

The act of June 14, 1940 permanently transferred the Immigration and Naturalization
Service from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice. (3,1098) The Act of
April 29, 1943 provided for the importation of temporary agricultural laborers to the U.S.
from North, South, and Central America. (3,1098) The Program served as the Legal basis for
the Mexican bracero program, which lasted through 1964. (3,1098)

The Displaced Persons Act of June 25, 1948 was a respond to the large numbers of Europeans
who had been turned into refuges by World War Two. (3,1096) It also marked the first Major
expression of U.S. policy for admitting persons fleeing persecution. (3,1096) They still
had a quota however, of 205,000 displaced persons in a two-year period. (3,1096) The
priority went to aliens who were farm laborers and those who had special skills. Racial
and Religious factors also affected the implementation of the Act. (3,1096) From June 30
until July 1 half of the German and Austrian quotas were available exclusively to
persons of German ethnic origin who were born in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania,
or Yugoslavia and who resided in Germany or Austria. (3,1096)

The Immigration and Nationality Act of June 27, 1952 also known as the McCarran-Walter
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was passed over the veto of President Harry S.
Truman. (3,1096) The Act made all immigration laws compact into one comprehensive
statute.(3,1099) All of the races were made eligible for naturalization. Sex
discrimination was eliminated with respect to immigration. (3,1099) However it still had a
quota in preference to skilled aliens. (3,1099) It also broadened the grounds for
exclusion and deportation of aliens. (3,1096)

The Immigration and Nationality Act of October 3, 1965 abolished the national-origins
quota system, elimination national origin, race, or ancestry as a basis for immigration.
(3,1099) It also established a limit of 170,000 immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere per
year and 120,000 limit per year on the Western Hemisphere.(3,1096) The Act also
established a 20,000 per-country limit within numerical restrictions for Eastern
Hemisphere, applied in 1976 to Western Hemisphere in 1976. (3,1099)

The Refugee Act of March 17, 1980 was the first omnibus refugee act enacted by congress.
(3,1099) The act passed through congress mainly because of the hundreds of thousands of
refuges that come to the U.S. in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s because of communist oppression.
The Refugee Act established procedures for consultation between the president and
congress on the numbers and allocations of refugees to be admitted in to the country in
each fiscal year. (3,1096) It also established procedures on how to respond to emergency
refugee situations in conformity with 1967 United Nations protocol on refugees. (3,1096)
Through this act, refugees attained permanent resident status. (3,1099) The wanted to
lower the number of refugees admitted but that plan was a failure. (3,1099)

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of Nov 6, 1986, was signed by President Ronald
Reagan. (3,1097) Through this act illegal aliens who had resided in an unlawful status
since January 1, 1982 could be legalized. (3,1099) This act also prohibited employers
from knowingly hiring an illegal alien.(3,1099) It increased immigration by making
adjustments for Cubans and Haitians who had entered the U.S. without inspection prior to
January 1, 1982.(3,1099) Through this act at least 700,000 visas were issued.( 3,1100)

A Person becomes a citizen of the United States of America through a rigorous application.
The First step is to get an application and, except for children under 14 years of age, a
fingerprint card and a biographic information form from the nearest office of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service or from a social service agency in the community.
(1,66) For him or herself one must fill out Form N-400. (1,66) If it is for a child fill
out Form N - 402.(1,67) The Application, the fingerprint card, and the Biographic
Information form if appropriate, must be filled out correctly and returned to Immigration
and Naturalization Service. (1,67) Three unsigned photographs as described in the
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