Immigration Laws Essay examples

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Prior to 1882, there were not any formal acts that controlled immigration. The Act of 1875 merely prohibited the importation of women for purposes of prostitution and the immigration of aliens "who are undergoing conviction in their own country for felonious crimes, other than political..." The Act of 1882 levied a head tax of fifty cents "for every passenger not a citizen of the United States," and forbade the landing of convicts, lunatics, idiots, or of "any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge."
The Act of 1885 blocked the immigration of aliens under contract to labor. The Acts of 1891 and 1903 made a number of further additions to the excluded classes (such as anarchists, polygamists, and
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"Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor..." from the Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus" lists as one of the most famous verses in American history. It is ironic that Lazarus wrote it in1882 in celebration of the erection of the Statue of Liberty which has become the iconic symbol of America as a welcoming beacon for a "nation of immigrants." The Statue of Liberty was dedicated only four years later.
In 1917, literacy tests were required of immigrants. Immigrants were required to write and read a language, although the language did not have to be English. In the 1920's, Congress instituted a series of "quotas" on immigration. That 1921 Emergency Quota Act gave that, held up by the 1910 census; three per cent of a European nationality that resided in the U.S. would be permitted to enter each year.
1924’s Johnson-Reed Act lowered the quota to two per cent and used the 1890 census figures. It also provided that in 1927 no more than 150,000 immigrants per year would be admitted on the basis of their national origin. These quotas favored the Western European countries. No restrictions were placed on Western Hemisphere countries such as Canada and Mexico. Asians were totally excluded. Another feature the 1924 law provided was the partiality and non quota status given to certain relatives of American citizens such as parents, children under twenty-two, husbands and the wives and children under eighteen. By the 30's and 40's the
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