With Congress set to adjourn until Labour Day and Fuehrer HUSSEIN Obama (a man of the common People) due to take a zillion dollar vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, the question of what to do with tens of thousands of illegal immigrants flooding our country will remain unresolved for now. Rather than govern, the oligarchs in Washington, DC would rather play golf and live high on our dimes. With no answer from government on whether to secure our borders or not, we will instead be treated to weeks and months more debate about the immigration question. Oh goody, goody.
As with most any topic a liberal chooses to insert his ugly face into, the immigration debate has been injected with all sorts of lofty Lefty rhetoric and emotion, and hardly any useful facts.
The slogan liberals are most fond of throwing about in our current debate is “America is a nation of immigrants.” This is absolutely true. There were four great epochs of immigration in American history: pre- American Revolution, the 19th century, pre-1965, and post-1965. Whether you’re ancestors were Pilgrims, slaves, Irish and Germans, Poles and Italians, or Latino, your people got to this country somehow, some way, at some time.
Liberals want you to believe that the illegal immigrants coming into our country currently, from places like Mexico and various nations of Central America, are no different than the Irish/Germans who came to America in 1840’s, or the Eastern and Southern Europeans that immigrated in the late 19th and early 20th century. It isn’t true. Not a word of it.
The United States has had a long tradition of rules, regulations, and legislation that govern and control the immigration process. America has never been a country of open borders, where all are welcomed. History and the facts say America was never a land of lawless open borders and amnesty for all illegal immigrants.
Even at Ellis Island, there were rules and regulations that sent 2% of immigrants back to their homelands. There was never a free for all in this country for immigrants to simply walk in, unchecked. According to a New York Times article, there were standards that immigrants on Ellis Island had to meet before gaining entry to our country. Asylum seekers had to be in good health and have $10, or the equivalent of $216 in today’s dollars, to show that one would not become a public burden.
Hear that, La Raza? Hear that, LULAC? Immigrants had to be in good health and have at least $200 in startup cash. How many illegal immigrants streaming in from Squatemala fit that description? Not many.
Prior to even the opening of Ellis Island, the United States sought to control and regulate immigration to our country. Ever heard of the United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790? Of course you haven’t. LULAC, La Raza, and the jokers passing for history teachers under Common Korps don’t want to talk about that law too much.
What the Naturalization Law of 1790 did, quite simply, was provide the first set of rules for citizenship in the United States. In order to address one’s good character, the law required two years of residence in the United States and one year in the state of residence, prior to applying for citizenship. When those requirements were met, an immigrant could file a Petition for Naturalization with “any common law court of record” having jurisdiction over his residence. Once convinced of the applicant’s good moral character, the court would administer an oath of allegiance to support the US Constitution.
The clerk of the court was to make a record of these proceedings, and “thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States.” The Act also establishes the United States citizenship of children of citizens, born abroad, without the need for naturalization: “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens.”
The Act of 1790 was superseded by the Naturalization Act of 1795, which extended the residence requirement to five years, and by the Naturalization Act of 1798, which extended it to 14 years. The 1798 act was repealed by the Naturalization Law of 1802.
The act of 1802 was the last major piece of naturalization legislation during the 19th century. A number of minor revisions were introduced, but these merely altered or clarified details of evidence and certification without changing the basic nature of the admission procedure. The most important of these revisions occurred in 1855, when citizenship was automatically granted to alien wives of U.S. citizens (10 Stat. 604), and in 1870, when the naturalization process was opened to persons of African descent (16 Stat. 256).
Immigration law remained unchanged until 1868, when the 14th Amendment stated:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In other words, all persons born on American soil, regardless of whether their parents were aliens or slaves, were themselves now citizens of the United States. At the time, the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment was mostly aimed at settling once and for all, the question of whether black Americans, formerly slave or freedmen, were American citizens. Owing to the Dred Scott case, and the fact many ex-Confederate southern States were denying citizenship and voting rights to persons whose grandfathers were themselves not citizens, the 14th Amendment ensured citizenship for black Americans.
At the time, the impact of the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause for immigrants was an afterthought. To the men who wrote the 14th Amendment, it was not immediately clear that a child born to foreign aliens on American soil was automatically a US citizen. That question was not formally hashed out until 1898, by the Supreme Court, which held in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that practically everyone born in the United States is a citizen.
Despite the fact America has instituted a policy of citizenship at birth, that did not stop our country from highly regulating immigration in the 19th century and into the next century. The Page Act of 1875 is an example of a harsh immigration law designed to keep “undesirable” aliens from coming to America. This law was mostly aimed at Chinese immigrants, and was legislation brought about by the fear that many women coming to the US from China were prostitutes.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 followed shortly thereafter. This act halted all legal immigration of Chinese laborers. Later on that very same year, the Immigration Act of 1882 became law.
There were two main components of the Immigration Act of 1882. The first was to create a “head tax” that would be imposed upon certain immigrants entering the country. The Act states that “There shall be levied, collected and paid a duty of fifty cents for each and every passenger not a citizen of the United States who shall come by steam or sail vessel from a foreign port to any port within the United States.” This money would be paid into the United States Treasury and “shall constitute a fund called the immigration fund.” These funds would be used to “defray the expense of regulating immigration under this act.” Scholar Roger Daniels commented that the head tax eventually “would rise, in stages, to eight dollars by 1917. In most years the government collected more in head taxes than it spent on administration.”
The creation of such administration, and the need to collect and disperse the head taxes throughout the bureaucratic chain, lead to the creation of “the first immigration bureaucracy.” It was a significant turning point of immigration policy in terms of relying on federal level legislation and administration. While this was not the first federal immigration law, as others were mentioned previously, states and local levels of immigration ports were mainly in control of immigration policy. The Immigration Act of 1882 was the beginning of the “contours of federal oversight” in immigration policy administration. In addition to the head tax, the Act also stipulated the responsibility of government agents to inspect ports and vessels bringing immigrants into the country.
This then lead to the second historically significant component of the Act. Upon inquiry of the vessels transporting immigrants, immigration officials were given the authority to expel certain immigrants based on criteria laid out within the Act. The legislation dictated that “If on such examination there shall be found among such passengers any convict, lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of him or herself without becoming a public charge, they shall report the same in writing to the collector of such port, and such person shall not be permitted to land.” Furthermore, if a criminal was found to be on board, it was the fiscal responsibility of the ship that brought the immigrant there to take them back out of the United States. The criminal provision of the act did not include immigrants who were “convicted of political offenses, reflecting the traditional American belief that the United States is a haven for those persecuted by foreign tyrants.”
At the onset of the 20th century, at the insistence of President Theodore Roosevelt, the Naturalization Act of 1906 was passed. Among other provisions, this law required that immigrants learn the English language before becoming naturalized citizens.
A few years later, the Immigration Act of 1917 went even further in restricting who would enter the United States. It was passed over a presidential veto by Woodrow Wilson. This legislation added to the list of “undesirable” aliens not allowed to enter the country, as specified in previous immigration laws. Included for exclusion in this act were anarchists, alcoholics, homosexuals, polygamists, and others.
America further limited immigration following the Great War with the Emergency Quota Act in 1921. The Emergency Quota Act restricted the number of immigrants admitted from any country annually to 3% of the number of residents from that same country living in the United States as of the 1910 Census. Based on that formula, the number of new immigrants admitted fell from 805,228 in 1920 to 309,556 in 1921-22. The act meant that only people of Northern Europe who had similar cultures to that of America were likely to get in.
The Immigration Act of 1924 took harsh immigration restrictions to even another level. The Act provided that beginning July 1, 1927, the formula would no longer use a percentage. As of that date, total immigration would be limited to 150,000, with the proportion of the total admitted from any country based on that country’s representation in the U.S. population according to the 1920 Census. The change from 2% to 150,000 planned for 1927 was later postponed to July 1, 1929.
In addition to further slashing the number of immigrants who could enter the United States, certain racial and ethnic minorities were banned altogether from entering the country. Senator David Reed and other proponents of the Act sought to establish a distinct American identity by favoring native-born Americans over Jews, Southern Europeans, and Eastern Europeans in order to “maintain the racial preponderance of the basic strain on our people and thereby to stabilize the ethnic composition of the population.” Reed told the Senate that earlier legislation “disregards entirely those of us who are interested in keeping American stock up to the highest standard – that is, the people who were born here.”
Asians were banned outright from immigrating to the United States. Some 86% of the 155,000 permitted to enter under the Act were from Northern European countries, like Britain and Ireland. The new quotas for immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe were so restrictive that in 1924 there were more Italians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, Greeks, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Spaniards, Jews, Chinese, and Japanese that left America than those who arrived as immigrants.
It was not until 1943 and the Magnuson Act did immigration laws in the United States slowly start to loosen in the slightest way. This legislation allowed for Chinese immigration to the United States for the first time since 1882 and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Even though Chinese immigrants were finally permitted to come to the US again, the quotas capping the numbers newcomers were very low.
Immigration laws would very slowly continue to soften after World War II, but it was not until very recently did the United States take a soft line on illegal immigrants. Whereas we today discuss amnesty and are content to have open borders, in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower enacted Operation Wetback, which cracked down on illegal aliens and deported them back to Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of illegals were apprehended through his presidency and into the Kennedy years.
America is a land of immigrants. We welcome immigrants who come to our shores legally. Those immigrants are welcomed happily into the American family.
What we should not tolerate – and never tolerated until the past 30 years – was an influx of illegal immigrants who broke our laws. As our history proves from the Naturalization Law of 1790, to the Chinese Exclusion Act, to the Emergency Quota Act, as well as many other laws, the United States was NEVER, EVER a country with open borders that welcomed all immigrants under all circumstances. Only a fool or an ignoramus could argue otherwise. History proves it.
The United States has the right to protect and secure it’s borders. A nation with no defined borders is not a nation. America has the right to limit the number and sort of immigrant who wants to enter our country. We’re a republic, not an empire. We’re a country with a defined language, culture, traditions, and values. We’re not a polyglot where anything goes!