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America Has, Is, And Will Always Be A Nation Of Immigrants

2533 words - 10 pages

In the years that have passed since Emma Lazarus' poem was inscribed on the Statue ofLiberty "the golden door" Americans have seen times when the door was Open wide and times whenIt was close shut to most immigrants. Many people look at the present immigration problems as aPurely modern dilemma. The truth is America has always struggled with the issue of immigration,Both legal and illegal. Changing times, however, makes it very important that our governmentReexamines and adjusts today's immigration laws to today's standards. Those standards,However, are not easily defined. Too often the issue of immigration is used as a Political tool or is lostIn heated moral debates. In any discussion about immigration there will be those who claim it isGood for our nation and those who claim it is ruining the nation. Americans to this day are stillFacing this dilemma; the nation must decide whether it is willing to accept more newImmigrants and whether immigration laws should be reformed?The concern about the impact that immigration impose on American society is not a new one.Since the discovery of the New World immigrants from all over the World moved to AmericanContinent in search of a better life, that this huge and rich in sources, yet rare in population land hadPromised them. Soon the immigrants outnumbered the native population. They came from England,Europe and Asia. In Addition, millions of Africans were imported as slaves. By 1700 the UnitedStates became a country of immigrants and more were still to come. At that time America WelcomedEverybody who ventured to settle in the new country. (Barbour, p.11)In the 1780s after the revolutionary war ended, the concerns and worries about the impact ofImmigration launched with the worries of the founding fathers, "Thomas Jefferson feared thatImmigrants from countries still ruled by kings might undermine the new republics politicalFoundations, while George Washington and the federalists worried that the new immigrants mightLean too far in the opposite Direction and challenge the federal government's powers". (Barbour, p.11) But those concerns were overshadowed by the need for those immigrants to drive the EconomyAnd carry out the westward expansion. And as long as the expanding Nation needed immigrants,National policy on immigration remained scant. (Barbour, p. 11-12)In the early 19th century it was so easy to become a naturalized citizen. New Comers becameCitizens after five years of residence, as they had to declare their Intent before witnesses in a stateCourt and they were only required to have moral Charter and loyalty to the principles of theConstitution. (Briggs p.19)In 1850 the Native American party (also known as the know nothing) was reformed as aMovement that called for ending the threat of immigrants to Native-born workers and secure theirJobs and religion. The immigration act of 1882 was passed by congress as a respond to the rise theAnti-immigrant movements, this Act defined and for the first time...

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