The United States of America, people identify this prosperous nation with the oldest functioning democracy, and a wealthy country with a developed economy, advanced technology, including intimidating military power.
Right from nation creation to this present day, the immigrant and immigrations are an integral part of what makes this country unique and desirable to people from all over the world. Outside of the native population, almost everyone had immigrant lineage or self-migrated here.
As a young nation in its infancy, it has welcomed migrants and tolerated diversity, leaders of that time saw the value of people from far-flung corners of the world to solidify this idea of democracy — the government created and functioning for and by the people.
Statue of Liberty, the iconic figure is symbolizing this nation's achievement of individual liberty against a monarchic rule. And this monument has an inscription that bears witness to this country inextinguishable spirit of "A Nation Of Immigrant" and "All Men Are Created Equal" — quote, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Unquote.
Despite immigrant's outsized contribution in making this country what it's today, the immigration system and policies surrounding it always have in a state of flux. And help to understand the unfolding of this nation from thirteen colonists states that morphed into an economic and military superpower — for both good and bad at the same time.
Immigration in the modern days —
Discriminatory immigration policies based on country of origin and race were a thing of the past, or at least not claimed openly by contemporary politicians for fear of legal and electoral repercussion.
That said, people of any given nation would expect to have a functioning border with laws and regulations governing the movement of people into the land; American is no different.
In America, the evolution of migration, laws, and policies governing that reflecting the sociocultural issues and economic priorities of any given time in the past. Though, antiquated and outdated laws maybe,
to an extent, people entrusted with drafting this law always find the compromise that satisfies all of them, and for the most part, not to keep the people from coming into this country.
However, all that is slowly changing with the rise of nativist sentiment and populist political climate; things are beginning to change for the worst for legal immigration; and it could potentially impact economic prosperity and security in many ways in the coming years.
With each potential visa denial into the U.S., becoming an opportunity created elsewhere. Unfortunately, this change in policies towards hard-edged immigration comes at a time when other nations start looking outward for talent, to shore up their economy, and as a replacement for the aging population.
Immigration laws highlights —
Let's take a trip down the memory lane, to see how the country's racial makeup shaped by the various laws from the colonial period to this present day.
In the early days of settlement, people from Europe, both free white and indentured servants, stared landing on the shores of North America, along with scores of involuntary slaves from Africa.
It's not surprising to see laws and policies favoring whites from a pocket of European regions and limit or outright deny the same for others. Then, men saw the colonized America was the result of their conquest, the spoil of the war victory, hence it was white right to reap the benefits.
Naturalization Act, 1790 —
First, in line to reflect this mindset had come in the form of Naturalization act, reserves the right of naturalized citizenship for whites only.
Decades of the exclusionary preference system ensure that the fundamental rights and entitlement offered by the constitution enjoyed only by whites. On the other hand, for others, it denies voting, owning land, accessing the justice system.
And it has created the system with unfair advantages against none-whites, especially Asian communities, through a slew of immigration laws, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the 1917 Asiatic Barred Zone Act, the 1935 Filipino Repatriation Act to name a few.
Quota Regime —
One policy parameter, in particular, has an outsized influence on either favoring or curtailing immigration to facilitate selective migration, Quota.
Emergency Quota Act, 1921 —
It all started with this legislation and still very much law of the land - to restrict the flow of Jews fleeing persecution from Europe.
Immigration and Nationality Act 1962, 1965 —
This bill and subsequent amendments were the basis for much of current legal immigration in the USA today.
Travel Ban 2017 —
An executive order issued by forty-fifth President Donald J Trump has denied entry from seven majorities of Muslim nation into the United States.
Final Comment —
In the face of economic priorities and changing demography, one would hope that politician's hands, particularly the ones benefiting from hatred racial division, will be forced and change the course of immigration that works for the country, people, and society at large.