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Immigration Policy in the United States

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Immigration Policy in the United States Over 60 million people have immigrated to the United States since 1600, from all over the earth, making this country more multicultural than any other. There are many reasons why people have migrated to the United States of America. Groups of people, families, or individuals sometimes leave their country by their own will because of undesired events such as: religious persecution; war; harsh economic conditions; harsh environmental conditions; disease; or genocide. At other times, they might be taken from their country involuntarily, such as in the case of slavery. Those migrants who come on their own will are often seeking better jobs, freedom, or preservation of their lives. Getting into the United States is not easy, and depending on the politics of the time, there has been an array of difficulties. History will show America's inconsistencies in Immigration policies, but the people of the world still flock to America, and when they come undocumented, problems can arise. In order to regulate newcomers, the first federal immigration authority was formed in 1891--the Superintendent of Immigration, under the Treasury Department. While this was the first formal agent to regulate immigration, there had been many other ways that immigrants had been regulated before this. First, came the Alien Act of 1798. This act granted the President the power to deport any alien he considered dangerous in any way. ...read more.


Immediate relatives of US citizens were exempt from any limitations. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 eliminated the national origins quotas that had been in operation since the 1920s and "embraced an immigration selection system based on family reunification and needed skills". However, the Act did place a ceiling for the first time on immigration from the Western hemisphere, while contributing to an increase in immigration from Asia (D�az-Briquets 166-7). The lack of restrictions prior to the 1965 Act was due in part to the desire for cheap labor that came from those regions and also in part to promote good neighbor relations. Since the 1940s, the major source of immigrants to the United States has been Mexico. The reasons for this extensive migration are well known. A long, open border, economic opportunities, and again, the need for cheap labor have all contributed to this movement. Another factor in this was the economic recession in Mexico in the 1970s. During the period from 1946 until 1992, over 4.3 million legal immigrants arrived from Mexico; hundreds of thousands more came illegally (Russell 69). The huge number of illegal immigrants, and the threats that they were thought to present to the United States, led to the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The major components of the Act provided for legalization of over 3 million undocumented aliens (approximately 1.8 million of whom were Mexican), established sanctions against employers who hired illegal aliens, and, supposedly, improved border controls to limit further illegal migration (D�az-Briquets 169-71). ...read more.


Most businesses have a chance to employ immigrants at a lower cost, and with the same ease as the agricultural industry. The government knows all to well that the current levels of punishment are too low, Richard Rogers, district director of the INS in Los Angeles, was quoted as saying: "If we were to increase fines 75 to 80 percent, we would probably have a lot of people out of business." (Sandoval 20), both acknowledging the problem, and agreeing that standards should be changed. I do not believe there is a clear answer to the growing problem of Illegal Immigration in our country, and I am sure that our policies will be ever changing. The history of our Immigration policy is not necessarily a clean one, we have denied whole races, and based quota's on scientific racism. We have made many mistakes when dealing with immigration law in my eyes. Yet I still find the issues and problems with Illegal immigration unsettling. I think many problems stem from Illegal immigration, but a harsh punishment, such as exclusion, has proven ineffective. I can say, with all honesty and belief, that our countries policies regarding these pressing issues have continued to move forward. Immigration law has started from non-existent, to all too harsh, and I believe it is now finding its way to some middle ground. While pride for our country can be lost in examining its history with regard to immigration, hope can be gained for the future through analysis of history's path to the present. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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