The History of Immigration

  • Naturalization Act of 1790

    Naturalization Act of 1790
    The Naturalization Act of 1790 provided the first set of rules to be followed when granting someone citizenship into the United States. Citizenship was inherited exclusively through the father and was limited to "free white persons" of "good moral character."
  • Naturalization Act of 1795

    The United States Naturalization Act of 1795 repealed and replaced the Naturalization Act of 1790. The 1795 Act differed from the 1790 Act by increasing the period of required residence from two to five years in the United States, by introducing a two-step naturalization process, and by conferring the status of citizen and not natural born citizen. The Act specified that naturalized citizenship was reserved only for "free white persons."
  • Alien and Sedition Acts

    Alien and Sedition Acts
    The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They are now considered unconstitutional.
  • Naturalization Act of 1798

    Naturalization Act of 1798
    The Naturalization Act of 1798 increased the amount of time necessary for immigrants to become naturalized citizens in the United States from five to fourteen years. Although it was passed under the guise of protecting national security, most historians conclude it was really intended to decrease the number of voters who disagreed with the Federalist political party. At the time, most immigrants supported the Democratic-Republicans, the political opponents of the Federalists.
  • Naturalization Law of 1802

    The Naturalization Law of 1802 directed the clerk of the court to record the entry of all aliens into the United States. The clerk collected information including the applicant's name, birthplace, age, nation of allegiance, country of emigration, and place of intended settlement, and granted each applicant a certificate that could be exhibited to the court as evidence of time of arrival in the United States. This act repealed the Naturalization Act of 1798.
  • Revision to the Naturalization Law of 1802

    Revision to the Naturalization Law of 1802
    Citizenship was now automatically granted to alien wives of U.S. citizens. This revision is currently abused by many, as divorce does not make the citizenship null.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

    The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
    The Fourteenth Amendment is one of the Reconstruction Amendments. It provides a broad definition of citizenship and prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness.
  • Revision to the Naturalization Law of 1802

    Revision to the Naturalization Law of 1802
    The naturalization process was now opened to persons of African descent.
  • The Page Act of 1875

    The Page Act of 1875
    The Page Act of 1875 was the first federal immigration law and prohibited the entry of immigrants considered "undesirable." The law classified as "undesirable" any individual from Asia who was coming to America to be a forced laborer, any Asian woman who would engage in prostitution, and all people considered to be convicts in their own country.
  • United States vs. Wong Kim Ark Decision

    United States vs. Wong Kim Ark Decision
    The Court ruled that practically everyone born in the United States is a U.S. citizen.
  • Emergency Quota Act

    Emergency Quota Act
    The Emergency Quota Act added numerical limits on immigration from Europe and the use of a quota system for establishing those limits. The 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 U.S. Census of 1910. This meant that only people of Northern Europe who had similar cultures to that of America were likely to get in. (The government wanted to protect its culture.)
  • Immigration Act of 1924

    Immigration Act of 1924
    The Immigration Act of 1924 was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890, down from the 3% cap set by the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921. It superseded the 1921 Emergency Quota Act. The law was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans. Its purpose was "to preserve the ideal of American homogenity."
  • Mexican Repatriation

    Mexican Repatriation
    The Mexican Repatriation refers to a mass migration that took place between 1929 and 1939, when as many as 500,000 people of Mexican descent were forced or pressured to leave the US. The event, carried out by American authorities, took place without due process. The Immigration and Naturalization Service targeted Mexicans because of "the proximity of the Mexican border, the physical distinctiveness of mestizos, and easily identifiable barrios."
  • The Great Depression

    The Great Depression
    Because of the Great Depression, more people emigrated from the United States than to it in the early 1930s. This decreased the population in the States.
  • Alien Registration Act of 1940 (aka Smith Act)

    Alien Registration Act of 1940 (aka Smith Act)
    The Alien Registration Act of 1940 is a United States federal statute that set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government and required all non-citizen adult residents to register with the government. Approximately 215 people were indicted under the legislation. Prosecutions under the Smith Act continued until a series of United States Supreme Court decisions in 1957 reversed a number of convictions under the Act as unconstitutional.
  • Immigration and Nationality Act

    Immigration and Nationality Act
    The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, also known as the McCarran–Walter Act, restricted immigration into the U.S. The Act governs primarily immigration to and citizenship in the United States.
  • Opperation Wetback

    Opperation Wetback
    Operation Wetback was an immigration law enforcement initiative created by Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service Joseph Swing. The program was implemented by the U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell, and utilized special tactics to combat the problem of illegal border crossing and residence in the United States by Mexican nationals. The program came as a result of pressure from the Mexican government to stop illegal entry of Mexican Laborers in the United States.
  • Arizona SB 1070

    Arizona SB 1070
    The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Arizona SB 1070) is a legislative Act in the U.S. state of Arizona that, at the time of passage, was the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in recent U.S. history. It has received national and international attention and has spurred considerable controversy.