America as a Nation of Immigrants Essay

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America as a Nation of Immigrants

America has, is, and will always be a nation of immigrants: the great melting pot. In the years that have passed since Emma Lazarus' poem was inscribed on the Statue of Liberty "the golden door" Americans have seen times when the door was open wide and times when it was close shut to most immigrants (Sure 4). Many people look at the present immigration problems as a purely modern dilemma. The truth is America has always struggled with the issue of immigration, both legal and illegal. Changing times, however, makes it imperative that our government reexamines and adjusts today's immigration laws to today's standards. Those standards, however, are not easily defined. Too often the issue of
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Since America continues to be seen as a nation of prosperity, opportunity, and freedom there will be those who wish to come to America. Immigrants have always come to America looking for a better life and Americans are always forgetting that their forefathers were once looking for that same life. Throughout most of America's history immigration was seen as a natural process that benefited the nation (Divine 2). There were no clearly defined policies on immigration until the 1890's. During this time the country started questioning the economic benefits of more immigrants. In May 1921, the first bill in American history dealing with immigration was passed. This bill restricted European immigration and created the quota system (Divine 5). The downward turn in the economy could justify this turn toward restriction. Who could argue for more immigrants when the nation's own citizens could not find work. The slowing economy and the "spirit of intense nationalism" in the United States at this time made immigration a hot topic (Divine 23). After the depression hit, everyone agreed that there was a "need to limit immigration," of course the extent of those limits was not easily agreed upon (Divine 77). World War II brought a new set of immigrants, and eventually the passing of the Displaced Persons Act of 1947. This allowed people, displaced by war to enter the country above quota limits
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