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Immigration To The Us Essay

1208 words - 5 pages

There are many Asian immigrants that come to the United States in hopes of living out their American dream of becoming United States citizens. My parents came here exactly for that same reason, so they can give my sisters and I the opportunity to live a better life. We were fortunate enough to have our relatives help us get here, making it a little less difficult for us compared to other families that took a different path to becoming citizens. However, it was not always this easy for an Asian immigrant family like ours to become naturalized citizens. It used to be near impossible for immigrants of Asian descent to become a United States citizen, but in recent years, there have been a spur of people with Asian ethnicity who are able to naturalize.
From the time the Puritans touched the soil of this land to the creation of this country’s new government, America was always envisioned as a “homogeneous” nation of people of European decent. John Winthrop and his Puritan followers came to this new land with the “errand” of creating the “new” England, a colony of one racial identity (Takaki 15). It is surprising to learn that even the founding fathers of this country were against having people other than “whites” to settle in this land where according to them “..all men are created equally”. Ben Franklin, for example, shared the same belief in his 1751 essay Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind. “The English were the ‘principle Body of White people’, and Franklin wished there were more of them in America” (Tanaki 16). Thomas Jefferson also shared the same view in his Notes on the State of Virginia, expressing his fear of possibly tainting the country with people of colored skin (Tanaki 16). With that in mind, one can conclude that the Declaration of Independence was probably written for the “whites”.
Moreover, this traditional vision of the United States being populated with people of European descent had a powerful influence on the government’s position on the matter. For example, “The Naturalization Law of 1790 had specified that naturalized citizenship was to be reserved for ‘whites’” (Takaki 14). This in turn made it near impossible for Asian immigrants to become United States citizen. The law heavily impacted people like Bhagat Singh Thind, an Asian Indian, whose citizenship was denied by the United States Supreme Court in the 1923 decision of U.S. vs. Bhagat Singh Thind. He argued Indians are technically Aryans, making him Caucasian. “The Court found that the authors of the 1790 statute probably ascribed to "the Adamite theory of creation" and understood "white people" in its popular, and not scientific, sense” ("United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind."). The law was not repealed until 1952 (Takaki 14). Although immigrants, like the Irish and Italians, also experienced discrimination, they were still able to become citizens because they fell into the category of “white”.
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