Immigration to Naturalized Citizen Policy Changes

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During the late 1500’s to the 1700’s, America had no written policy on immigration. Settlers came from around the globe with high hopes of riches and prosperity in the new land. It wasn’t until 1790 did the U.S. attempt to unify the States on who could become a U.S. citizen. Under the Naturalization Act, “free white persons” of “good moral character” could become citizens after two years of residence in the country. Of course this law had no implications on who could actually become a U.S. citizen. So the U.S. decided to start monitoring who was coming into America by the use of the Steerage Act of 1819. It was designed to continually report all immigration by the use of passenger manifests. These manifests were to be turned into the local Collector of Customs, then the Secretary of the State and finally reported to Congress. By 1875 the U.S. had finally implemented exclusion laws and centralized a control for immigration. These laws limited specific people the U.S. deemed “Undesirable”. This mainly consisted of criminals, prostitutes and Chinese contract laborers. This lasted until 1891 when the United States created a comprehensive national immigration law called the Immigration Act. This law created a Bureau of Immigration under the Treasury Department, allowed for deportation of illegal aliens and added polygamists and contagious diseases to the list of people who could not enter (cite). Over the next 100 years, the immigration policy became less biased of ethnicity and instead focused more on how many were entering the U.S. per year.
In today’s current events, the Immigration Policy has been under debate. The U.S. is attempting to find “top foreign talent” while still eliminated illegal immigrants and securing U.S. borders. ...

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...ebates and reform have been mainly coming from the federal level, several measures have been passed the state level. Some states have been trying to pass restrictive laws that limit illegal immigration such as Arizona’s SB1070. This law imposes criminal punishments on illegal aliens and also those who harbor, employ or transport them. In 2010, the Supreme Court challenged Arizona’s strict laws and dismissed three out of the four major parts of the law. The only thing they upheld was the ability to ask for proof of citizenship. Other programs such as the Secure Communities program began as an volunteer process. Some states disliked the program and attempted to opt-out only to be denied. The program has now stated that participation within the 50 states is mandatory, which stirred protests to local governments. However the program has had no legal challenges to date.
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