The foundation of the United States of America is based on the migration of people from other countries. The migration to the United States between 1820- 1914 accelerated the Industrial Revolution, and started to improve transportation at a faster rate (Goldfield, 2005). Since America is considered the melting pot of the world, immigration is an important topic that needs to be regulated constantly. Foreigners are encouraged to travel to America for a better life, and for better jobs, but the process of even applying for a green card can be nearly impossible for many. As the American population is constantly growing there are over 11 million illegal immigrants unspoken for (whitehouse.gov, Immigration).
Immigration reform has evolved over time. In 1924 the Immigration Act of 1924 was created. This act limited the amount of immigrants allowed entry into the United States by establishing a national origins quota ...view middle of the document...
Preferences were set on skills and family reunification (History.state.gov, Milestones). One of the systems of preferences, which served to help American consuls abroad prioritize visa applicants in countries with heavily, oversubscribed quotas. Individuals with skills or families already resident in the United States received precedence, which is still used today in immigration reform. Also, the Act gave non-quota status to illegal husbands of American citizens. This created a labor certification system, designed to prevent new immigrants from becoming unwanted competition for American laborers.
The Immigration and Nationality Act or also known as The Hart-Celler Act was revised again in 1965. In 1963, during a speech President Kennedy called the quota system “intolerable” (history.com, immigration). During this time period civil rights movement was going on, and there was focus on equal treatment no matter what nationality or race. The quota system was ruled as discriminatory, and was terminated. A higher preference was now given to permanent residents and relatives of American citizens than applicants who have special work skills. The 1965 bill was intended only to end discrimination, but some people feared there would be an increase in immigration and a change of the countries of immigrants. "The time has come for us to insist that the quota system be replaced by the merit system...It deprives us of able immigrants whose contributions we need...It would increase the amount of authorized immigration by only a fraction." (The New York Times, Aug. 24, 1964, p. 26.)
During Ronald Reagan’s presidency he passed The Immigration and Control Act of 1986. This bill causes many debates till this day. The bill cracked down on security on the Mexican border. Also any employers with illegal immigrants would face stricter penalties. The bill also made it eligible for any immigrant who entered the country before 1982 for amnesty (npr.org). The law granted amnesty to over 3 million illegal immigrants. "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally," Ronald Reagan said in 1984 (npr.org).