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U.S. Immigration Policies 1800-present

  • Steerage Act

    Steerage Act
    Made standards to be followed by ships carrying passengers to the United States. (an act regulating passenger ships and vessels).
  • Passenger Act

    Passenger Act
    Established standards to be followed by ships carrying passengers to the United States, and penalties for captains not ensuring these standards.
  • Anti-coolie Law

    Anti-coolie Law
    Congress approved an act banned transportation of “coolies” (people from China) in ships that were either owned or not owned by citizens of the United States.
  • Naturalization Act

    Naturalization Act
    United States federal law that created a system of controls for the naturalization process and penalties for dishonest practices. Noted for permitting “aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent” to become naturalized citizens of the U.S. It was passed by the 41st United States Congress and signed into law by Pres. Ulyses S. Grant on July 14, 1870.
  • Page Act

    Page Act
    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.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act

    Chinese Exclusion Act
    Imposed to exclude Chinese from migrating to the U.S. The law stated that for the next ten years the Chinese laborers were suspended from coming into the U.S. If people were caught bringing Chinese into the country they would be fined $500 per head that was brought in and or imprisoned but not for more than a year. Vessels landing on American soil could not have Chinese on them and if they did they were not allowed leave any of them behind or let them step off the boat.
  • Immigration Act

    Immigration Act
    Congress passed a new Immigration Act that stated a 50 cents tax would be levied on all aliens landing at U.S. ports.
  • Contract Labor Law

    Contract Labor Law
    An act to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the U.S. and its territories.
  • Immigration Act

    Immigration Act
    Revised version of the 1882 Immigration Act. It declared that certain classes of individuals were unfit to become American citizens.
  • Geary Act

    Geary Act
    Extended the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act for an additional 10 years, and required persons of Chinese descent to acquire and carry identification papers.
  • Scott Act

    Scott Act
    extension of Chinese Exclusion Act was an act to prohibit the coming into and to regulate the residence within the U.S. and its territories.
  • Naturalization Act

    Naturalization Act
    Signed into law by Pres. Roosevelt that revised the law from 1870 and required immigrants to learn English in order to become naturalized citizens.
  • Immigration Act

    Immigration Act
    Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act was a law passed by Congress on February 5, 1917 that restricted the immigration of “undesirables” from other countries. A tax of $8 a head was imposed on immigrants, except children under sixteen accompanying a parent and those over 16 who had not paid for their own ticket were prohibited from entering the country. Key aspect was that people from what was called the Asiatic Barred Zone were restricted from the entering the country.
  • Wartime Measure

    Wartime Measure
    This Act asserted that any alien leaving or entering the country was subject to comply with the rules and regulations prescribed by the president.
  • Emergency Quota Law

    Emergency Quota Law
    Temporarily limit the numbers of immigrants to the U.S. by imposing quotas based on country of birth.
  • Immigration Act

    Immigration Act
    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 U.S. in 1890.
  • Nationality Act

    Nationality Act
    To clearly identify who is eligible for citizenship through birth or naturalization requirements.
  • Wartime Measure

    Wartime Measure
    This Act held that whenever any American diplomatic or consular officer knew or had a reason to believe that any alien sought to enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in activities which will endanger society they could refuse any visa or temporary work visa, thereby denying admission to the US.
  • Bracero Appropriations

    Bracero Appropriations
    The Appropriations for Farm Labor of 1943 law was put into effect to aid the agricultural economy. It made appropriations to support the 1942 Bracero Agreement. Congress passed the law, which distributed a total of $26.1 million to states who were in need of labor assistance.
  • Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act

    Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act
    It allowed Chinese immigration for the first time since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and permitted some Chinese immigrants already residing in the country to become naturalized citizens.
  • War Brides Act

    War Brides Act
    This 1950 Family Act, also known as War Brides Act, described the process and limitations of entry of alien spouses and minor alien children of United States Armed Forces citizens.
  • Alien Fiancees and Fiances Act

    Alien Fiancees and Fiances Act
    The G.I. fiancée act was devised to expedite the entrance of foreign-born fiancées of members of the U.S Armed Forces that served in WWII.
  • Chinese War Brides Act

    Chinese War Brides Act
    An act to place Chinese wives of American citizens on a nonquota basis.
  • Displaced Persons Act

    Displaced Persons Act
    An act to authorize for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of certain European displaced persons for permanent residence, and for other purposes.
  • Act on Alien Spouses and Children

    Act on Alien Spouses and Children
    to allow the entrance of foreign-born spouses and unmarried children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces regardless of their race if marriage occurred before March 19, 1952 (six months before the enactment of this Act). Those admitted received immigration visas and did not count toward quotas.
  • Public Law 78

    Public Law 78
    was an amendment to the Agricultural Act of 1949 in an effort to include agricultural workers within the act.
  • Immigration and Naionality Act

    Immigration and Naionality Act
    restricted immigration into the U.S. The act governs primarily immigration to and citizenship in the U.S. It has been in effect since December 24, 1952.
  • Immigration and Nationality Act

    Immigration and Nationality Act
    abolished the national origins quota system that had structured American immigration policy since the 1920s replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants skills and family relationships with citizens or residents.
  • Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act

    Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act
    Passed by the 89th Congress and signed into law by Pres. Lyndon Johnson, the law applies to any native or citizen of Cuba who has been inspected and admitted or paroled into the U.S. after January 1, 1959 and has been physically present for at least one year; and is admissible to the U.S. as a permanent resident.
  • Armed Forces Naturalization Act

    Armed Forces Naturalization Act
    declares that anyone, regardless of age or race, shall achieve citizenship through “naturalization through active-duty service in the armed forces during World War I, World War II, the Korean Hostilities, the Vietnam Hostilities, or in other periods of military hostilities”.
  • Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act

    Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act
    an act to enable the U.S. to render assistance to, or in behalf of, certain immigrants and refugees.
  • Amerasian Immigration Act

    Amerasian Immigration Act
    An act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide special treatment in the admission of certain children of the U.S. citizens.
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act

    Immigration Reform and Control Act
    Required employers to attest to their employees immigration status. Made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants. Legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants. Legalized illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt. About three million illegal immigrants were granted legal status.
  • Immigration and Nationality Act

    Immigration and Nationality Act
    increased the limits on legal immigration to the U.S., revised all grounds for exclusion and deportation, authorized temporary protected status to aliens of designated countries, revised and established new nonimmigrant admission categories, revised and extended the Visa waiver Pilot Program, and revised naturalization authority and requirements.
  • Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act

    Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act
    An act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for special immigrant status for certain aliens who have served honorably (or are enlisted to serve) in the Armed Forces of the U.S. for at least 12 years.
  • Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act

    Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
    addresses many aspects of immigration (both legal and illegal), and the responsibilities placed upon not only immigrants, but those enforcing legal immigration. It directly addresses border patrol and upgrades needed for border patrol enforcers, equipment, and the overall patrolling process.
  • REAL ID Act

    REAL ID Act
    created more restrictions on political asylum, severely curtailed habeas corpus relief for immigrants, increased immigration enforcement mechanisms, altered judicial review, and imposed federal restrictions on the issuance of state driver's licenses to immigrants and others.
  • Secure Fence Act

    Secure Fence Act
    Part of Pres. George W. Bush’s effort on immigration reform which was intended to allow the Department of Homeland Security to gain operational control over the entire U.S.-Mexico border and maritime border.
  • Arizona SB 1070

    Arizona SB 1070
    U.S. federal law requires all aliens over the age of 14 who remain in the U.S. for longer than 30 days to register with the U.S. government, and to have registration documents in their possession at all times; violation of this requirement is a federal misdemeanor crime.
  • Alabama HB 56

    Alabama HB 56
    anti-illegal immigration bill. It is regarded as the nation’s strictest anti-illegal immigration law. Requires that if police have “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an immigrant unlawfully present in the U.S., in the midst of any legal stop, detention or arrest, to make a similarly reasonable attempt to determine that person’s legal status. An exemption is provided if such action would hinder an official investigation of some kind.