America 's Melting Pot : A Nation Of The People

1376 WordsApr 25, 20166 Pages
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Written at the base of The Statue of Liberty standing proudly in the middle of New York Harbor, these words have been a continuous flare to people from around the world seeking liberty and the opportunity for a better life...the American dream. The immigrants who settled here over the past almost 150 years are the very definition of America’s melting pot: people from far and wide and cultures coming together to create the American experiment – a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. Illegal immigrants have always…show more content…
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned all Chinese immigration for ten years, but turned into a decades-long ban against the Chinese. The Immigration Act of 1917 was particularly offensive, banning “all idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons… persons with chronic alcoholism; paupers; professional beggars…” (Sixty-Fourth Congress, 1917). And the list goes on for over a page, listing undesirable persons who would not be allowed into the United States. It was the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 that took restrictions to new levels. Stating that only 3% of the population of current residents from a particular country based on the 1910 Census, this greatly limited the number of non-white Europeans who tried to immigrate during this time. And more interesting, it was a way to keep out the Eastern European Jews who had started a migration to America after the political upheavals and violence in their countries. This is why they chose the 1910 Census instead of the 1920 Census, which would have made more sense. But that way, the government could keep the numbers down of groups they considered undesirable (Encyclopedia of Immigration, 2012). These unfair quotas were continued in various forms until 1965 and some still continue today. All this sets the stage for our current immigration laws and the problem of illegal immigration. Currently in a given year, the US allows 140,000 people to become citizens based on employment and 226,000
Open Document