Homework Eleven Answers - Student Twelve

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Week 11

Immigration: The Road to a New America

What should we be doing as a country to preserve our individuality from outside nations? Well in the late 1800's-1900's and basically throughout our entire history, our government thought that the best way to save our rich history was to put limitations on immigration. By constraining how many people immigrated and from what ethnic background they came from, our government was able to do what they believed was in the best interest of our country. Thus, the inevitable battle of rules and regulations for immigration began in the early days of our country's history.

For most the most part in the beginning stages, immigration was free and limitless. William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania advertised overseas in the late 1600's for people to come and settle his colony. Many came from different European nations and helped to settle the United States. However, some people who were already here did not like the influence coming from those of other backgrounds and nationalities. For example, the Protestant British did not like the influence of the Catholic Irish. This dislike towards the immigrants was illustrated in1798 by the “Alien and Sedation Laws” which authorized the deportation of immigrants who had not yet become citizens. In 1854, after the Great Potato Famine of Ireland, huge numbers of Irish immigrants came to the United States. A new political movement emerged in response to this, the anti-immigration and anti-catholic group, the “Know-Nothings.” Ever since this time, there has been animosity towards immigration. In 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican War, allowed for Mexicans who were living in the territories acquired by the United States to become American citizens. After 1890, hundreds of Mexicans entered the U.S. illegally and were called “wetbacks.” The time period when the majority of immigrants came to our country was between the end of the Civil War and 1921. Most of those immigrants were European, but due to the Burlingame Treaty with China in 1868 which gave the Chinese unlimited rights to immigrate, many of the immigrants were Chinese. The labor unions then grew upset with the flood of Chinese immigrants. As a result, in 1882 President Chester Arthur signed a bill to prohibit the immigration of Chinese laborers. In 1891 the Federal government created the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) which is still supervising lawful immigration today. In 1892, the INS established a set location for the performance of medical tests and oaths of allegiance to America by new immigrants. This place is called Ellis Island and is located in New York Harbor. The highest point of lawful immigration to the United States was in the period between 1905-1914 when more than a million immigrants entered into our country legally. Most of them came from southern and central Europe. The very numerous amount of immigrants from European countries other than England and Ireland caused much dismay amongst many Americans of English background. They did not want their culture and way of living to change and affect the upbringing of their children. By the 1920's the U.S. was growing troubled about anarchists and communists entering our country through southern and eastern Europe. This growing concern was sparked due to the recent assassination of President McKinley by an anarchist of Eastern European decent. The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 limited immigration to 3% of that originating country's immigration levels in1910. This highlighted and promoted Protestant immigrants from England and Northern Europe as opposed to Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. The Immigration Act of 1924 reduced the 3% quota further to 2% and changed the baseline from 1910 to 1890. This Act gave even greater preferences to immigrants from Great Britain, Germany and Ireland and significantly reduced immigration from Italy, Russia and Asia. Immigration from India was allowed in 1952, also immigration from Asia was once again resumed. In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act abolished the individual quotas for each foreign country. Instead it created an overall limit on visas as a first come first serve basis. In the early 1980's illegal immigration from Mexico expanded tremendously. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 allowed most illegal aliens who lived in the U.S. since 1982 to apply for legal status. Today court decisions make it difficult or impossible for states to deny government benefits such as free public education and health care benefits to immigrants residing here illegally.

Thus our country has always had to deal with the problems of immigration. Some consider it a more serious problem than others. It is important to preserve our country's individuality because America is truly a nation like no other. However, it is equally important to encourage legal immigration. Our country is what it is today because of the coming together of people of different ethnic backgrounds. The United States was settled by immigrants. If it were not for the Pilgrims and the Puritans, the first immigrants to America, we would not have the great nation we enjoy living in today.

Alexa W

Superb essay, which gives a detailed summary of the immigration laws over the centuries. You include all the key aspects of American immigration policy, and explain the advantages of immigration while also mentioning the controversies. Two minor corrections: "hundreds of Mexicans" should probably be "hundreds of thousands of Mexicans," and note that the first English immigrants to America were at Jamestown and were not the Pilgrims and Puritans. Also, the middle paragraph could be better broken into several smaller paragraphs.
This is an excellent essay that earns the high grade of "A".--Andy Schlafly 11:55, 16 May 2011 (EDT)