U.S. Immigration History

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					A Brief History of
U.S. Immigration
  Prof. José M. Alamillo
Chicano/a Studies Program
   CSU Channel Islands
     “Nation of Immigrants”?
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to
 breathe free, The wretched refuse of
 your teeming shore”
             -Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

           It is also a story of
   America’s exclusion and restriction of
         Colonial America’s
    Ambivalence about Immigration
“Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English,
  become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so
  numerous as to Germanize us instead of us
  Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language
  or Customs, any more than they can acquire our
                    -Benjamin Franklin, Observations Concerning
                                 the Increase of Mankind (1751)
Immigrants from foreign monarchies “will infuse into
  American legislation their spirit, warp and bias its
  direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent,
  distracted mass.”
         -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1782.
     Know-Nothing Party: America’s
       First Nativist Organization
   Began as a secret anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and
    anti-immigrant organization
   1850s the Know-Nothing movement went public
    and achieved significant results with many of
    their political candidates winning seats in local
    and state elections.
   Attempt to ensure that only Protestants could
    teach in the public schools.
   They introduced a bill in Congress that called for
    the prohibition of immigration of foreign-born
    paupers and convicts.
   They also introduced legislation in several states
    that required registration and literacy tests for
Irish Cartoon

                Irish Cartoon
                Harper’s Weekly
                Circa 1840s
After 1870 the Rise of Nativism:

“New Immigrations” Not Fit to Become “Real
 “No Irish Need Apply”

   “No Wops Need Apply”

   “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”

   “The Chinese Must Go”
     1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
   The Chinese became the first immigrant
    group to be excluded from the United
    States on the basis of race and class.
   Became a foundation for immigration laws
    that arose afterwards.
   Created a new federal bureacracy (INS)
    worked against legal and illegal
   Anti-Chinese Movement that united white
    elites and poor whites.
Posing as
Erika Lee’s
At America’s
         Gentleman’s Agreement
   The Gentlemen’s Agreement was an unofficial
    and undocumented treaty that confronted direct
   Japan was to issue passports only to those who
    had previously been admitted to the United
    The Gentlemen’s Agreement did allow for
    Japanese men living in the United States to send
    for their wives and children in Japan
          1917 Immigration Act
   1911 Dillingham Commission’s major study of immigration
    led to a series of recommendations: literacy test, barring
    Asian migrants, and quota system

   Literacy Act stated that any person over sixteen years of
    age had to be literate in some language in order to enter
    the United States.

   “100 % Americanism” & “Unhyphenated Americanism”

   American Protective League (APL) and “First Red Scare”

   “Asiatic Barred Zone” (East Asia & Pacific Islands, except
    Philippines) [See Map]
            1924 Immigration Act
             (Johnson-Reed Act)
   Invention of the National Origins Quota System
   Created a division between “native stock” and
    “foreign stock” Europeans
   Slowed Southern and Eastern European
    Immigration to a trickle (based 1890 Census
    instead of 1920 Census)
   Asians were now “ineligible for citizenship”
   Eliminated statue of limitations for deportation
    without a valid visa and valid inspection.
         Eugenics and
       Immigration Policy
   American lawyer and eugenicist
   Madison Grant was responsible for one of
    the most famous works of scientific racism
    titled The Passing of the Great Race
   Grant also provided statistics for the 1924
    Immigration Act to set the quotas on
    immigrants from certain European
       Eugenics and
     Immigration Policy
   Harry Laughlin, founder of Eugenics
   Record Office in New York (1910-1939)
   Promoted eugenic sterilization in the USA
   Principal advisor to Albert Johnson’s House
    Committee on Immigration and
   Founder and first director (1937-1941) of
    Pioneer Fund that promotes racial purity
    and funds F.A.I.R and Center for
    Immigration Studies
       Nazi Germany support of
        1924 Immigration Act
   In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: “There is
    today one state in which at least weak
    beginnings toward a better conception are
    noticeable. Of course, it’s not our model
    German Republic, but the American Union,
    in which an effort is made to consult
    reason by simply excluding certain races
    from naturalization…and limiting the entry
    of dirtier southern European stocks.”
            Mexican Immigrants
   Creation of the Border Patrol
   “Unauthorized Entry” became a criminal act
    punished by deportation
   The term “illegal alien” becomes conflated with
    Mexicans in the 1920s
   The I.N.S. granted “legalization” to over 200,000
    “illegal” European immigrants who came via
   Rise of the “Mexican Problem” (late 1920s)
   Great Depression slowed immigration
   Repatriation Campaigns in the early 1930s
    World War II and Immigration
   World War II and the repeal of the
    Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943
   Germans and Italians as “Enemy Aliens”
   Internment of Japanese Americans
   Bracero Program (1942-1964)
   1948 Displaced Persons Act ( Jewish
   Foreign policy shaped immigration policy
     1952 Immigration and Nationality
        Act (McCarren-Walter Act)
   Immigration Policy determined by the Cold War
   All racial barriers to immigration and naturalization were
    removed but maintained the “Asia-Pacific Triangle”
   "National Origins Quotas" remained despite President
    Truman’s Veto
   Admitted refugees from Communist countries (1953
    Refugee Relief Act)
    Family Reunification—expanded to wives and husbands
    Exclusion of Homosexuals “persons afflicted with
    psychopathic personality” and “sexual deviation”)
   Red Scare and McCarthyism
          Truman’s 1952 Veto
   Harry Truman: “The time to shake off this
    dead weight of past [1924 quota system]
    mistakes is now…the time to develop a
    decent policy of immigration—a fitting
    instrument for our foreign policy and a
    true reflection of the ideals we stand for,
    at home and abroad, is now.”
              Truman’s 1952 Veto
   "Today, we are protecting ourselves as we were in 1924,
    against being flooded by immigrants from Eastern Europe.
    This is fantastic...We do not need to be protected against
    immigrants from these countries on the contrary we want to
    stretch out a helping hand, to save those who have managed
    to flee into Western Europe, to succor those who are brave
    enough to escape from barbarism, to welcome and restore
    them against the day when their countries will, as we hope,
    be free again...these are only a few examples of the
    absurdity, the cruelty of carrying over into this year of 1952
    the isolationist limitations of our 1924 law. In no other realm
    of our national life are we so hampered and stultified by the
    dead hand of the past, as we are in this field of immigration."
 John F. Kennedy’s A Nation of
      Immigrants (1958)
“Immigration policy should be generous; it
  should be fair; it should be flexible. With
  such a policy we can turn to the world,
  and to our past, with clean hands and a
  clear conscious.”
         Immigration Act of 1965
1) Abolished the “National Origins Quotas” for individual
    nations but imposed a “Hemispheric Limits”: 170,000 for
    Eastern Hemisphere (Asia, Europe, Africa); 120,000
    Western Hemisphere
2) 1976 it was modified to a global ceiling of 290,000 and
     impose 20,000 per country quota
3) Preference for Family Reunification: (relatives of
   citizens: parents of adults, minor children,
   siblings and spouses)
4) Occupations Preference for Highly Educated and Highly
    Skilled Immigrants  “Brain Drain”
5) Special admission for agricultural workers: H2A
   1970s: Increase in
Undocumented Immigration
            In 1976 global ceiling of
              290,000 and imposed
              20,000 quota per
              country including
              Mexico thus
              increasing “illegal”
            The number of
              increased by 40%
              from 1968 (151,000)
              to 1976 (781,000)
Early 1980s
         1980s: Contemporary
           Immigration Era
● 1980: 80% were Asian and Latin American
  Documented Immigrants (Mexico and Philippines
  are the largest sending countries)

● Immigration and Reform and Control Act
  of 1986 (IRCA)
-Employer sanctions
-Amnesty provisions (before 1982)
-Special Agricultural Worker Program (5/1/85-
-Increased Border Enforcement
     President Ronald Reagan on
            signing IRCA
   “”We have consistently supported a
    legalization program which is both
    generous to the alien and fair to the
    countless thousands of people throughout
    the world who seek legally to come to
    America. The legalization provisions in this
    act will go far to improve the lives of a class
    of individuals who now must hide in
    shadows, without access to many of the
    benefits of a free and open society.”
“The Turn Against Immigration”
● Immigration Act of 1990
-Worldwide limit on admissions (675,000)
-Expansion of Employment Based Immigrant Visas (i.e. nurses)
-Family Sponsored Visas 480,000
-Provides “Diversity” Immigrant Visas (“lottery visas”) 55,000

● Backlash Against Immigration
California Proposition 187 (1994)
●Political Refugees Seeking Asylum
●Documented Immigrants (Highly Skilled)
●Undocumented Immigrants (Manual labor)
●Persons Entering on Non-immigrant Visas
(H-1B, H-2A)
 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)
1) Improvements to Border Control, Facilitation of
    Legal Entry and Interior Enforcement
2) Enhanced Enforcement and Penalties Against
    Alien Smuggling; Document Fraud
3) Inspection, Apprehension, Detention,
    Adjudication, And Removal of Inadmissible And
    Deportable Aliens
4) Enforcement of Restrictions Against Employers
5) Section 505: “an alien shall not be eligible for
    any postsecondary education benefit .”
NAFTA and Immigration
         How did 9/11 impact U.S.
    immigration policy and immigrants?
   I.N.S. came under the Department of Homeland
   Territorial Borders as “National Security Issue”
   Minute Men Vigilante Groups called “Immigrants”
    as the new “terrorists”
   Sensenbrenner Bill (H.R. 4437) proposed felony to
    be an illegal alien and would make criminals of
    the people who support illegal aliens
   2005 McCain-Kennedy Bill, “Secure America and
    Orderly Immigration Act”
   2006 Homeland Security Bill (border fence bill)
    built a 700 mile border wall
  Arizona: Ground Zero for the
      Immigration Debate
Arizona’s SB 1070
gives law enforcement
  a mandate to
  demand immigration
  papers from anyone
  they “reasonably”
  suspect could be an
    President Obama’s speech on
         immigration (2008)
   “ At the national level, our diplomacy with
    Mexico must aim to amend NAFTA. I will
    seek enforceable labor and environmental
    standards not unenforceable side
    agreements that have done little to curb
    NAFTA’s failures. To reduce illegal
    immigration, we also have to help Mexico
    develop its own economy, so that more
    Mexicans can live their dreams south of
    the border.”

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