American Immigration Policy Immigration has held a major role in shaping our country. Immigrants have provided many things such as customs, manufacturing, inventions, and entertainment. Many people today don’t realize how greatly we have been affected by immigration. A survey was given to ten people. The survey contained a list of people who were all immigrants. When asked how many actually were, only one person got the question right. Old Immigration occurred between 1840-1890. Immigrants during this time period came from countries such as Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland). Next came the period of New Immigration. These newcomers came from Italy, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, Austria, etc., most of whom were peasants who couldn’t speak English.
The people who migrated during the period of Old Immigration disliked these aliens because it meant lower wages for themselves and the new immigrants had greater advantages including poor and political machines. These people also were not willing to adapt to American ways of life, and created their own little towns that resemble their homeland. They were treated as outcasts. New Immigration ended with World War I when the immigrant boats were being sunk. Immigration is still continuing today.
Current Immigration includes people from Latin America, the Philippines, and Asia. Laws regarding immigration are constantly changing to fit the needs of society. In 1854, the Know-Nothing Party declared the need for strict limits on Immigration. Members of this party felt it was necessary that immigrants must be residents of the United States for 21 years before being granted citizenship. The campaign ended in 1860 during the time of the Civil War due to the demand of immigrants needed to enlist in the Union Army. Ten years later, the Naturalization Act is passed.
This states that only white persons and persons of African descent are able to become citizens. This excludes all Asians. This trend continues for several decades. In 1921, Congress decides to pass immigration restrictions, first establishing a quota of 350,000 immigrants. The quota is increased as times change. In 1995, it was passed that the total number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the United States be limited to 650, 000 a year. Immigrants were given visas, which allowed them to come to this country.
Visas were distributed for family and employment-based immigrants, and persons from adversely affected countries. Strict regulations have also been made due to the large number of people entering the country illegally. The nation is on the right track. They have created laws stating limitations on the privileges of immigrants, including welfare and those who test positive for HIV/AIDS.
There is also a growing problem with illegal immigration which needs to be tended to. More Border Patrol guards could be hired along the Mexican border, however, this does cost a lot of money. Funding could come out of taxes to help put an end to illegal aliens. Cutting down welfare, food stamps, and Medicare to immigrants even further would also be beneficial. Immigration is a key part of our nation’s history. The continuing situation could drastically affect our country’s future.