Immigration in the U.S.
While immigration has played an important role in the building
and formation of America, new federal laws have resulted in mass
immigration. “America was primarily founded on immigrants,
however, immigration must be controlled legally, and immigrants
should be treated equally despite what country they come from.
America has the most liberal laws towards immigrants than any other
country.” Luis Barker, Chief Patrol Agent In-Charge, US Border Patrol,
El Paso, TX. Throughout history, Congress has enacted laws and has
had to amend them to control the flow of both legal and illegal
migration to the United States.
In 1948, legislation was first enacted in an effort to control the
number of applicants fleeing persecution; it permitted 205,000
refugees to enter the United States. In 1952, Congress set in place
major regulations setting parameters and quotas mostly for the
eastern hemisphere and leaving the western hemisphere unrestricted.
In 1953, congress was again faced with having to increase the
number of refugees from 205,000 to 415,000. In order to qualify as a
refugee one must have a well founded fear of persecution, not be
firmly resettled in a third country, and must not be an aggravated
felon. In 1965, the national origin’s quota system was abolished but
still maintained was the principle of numerical by establishing
170,000 hemispheric and 20,000 per country ceilings and a seven
category preference system. This system included the spouses of
lawful resident aliens, brother and sisters of United States citizens,
skilled and unskilled workers. To present date spouses and minor
children of US citizens are exempt any quota system. In 1980, the
refugee act removed them from the preference category and
established clear criteria and procedures for their admission. In
1986, Congress was faced with yet another national crisis which it
attempted to resolve by enacting the Immigration Reform and Control
Act (IRCA). IRCA was considered to be the most comprehensive act
which was to grant amnesty to those who had resided in the US
illegally since January 1, 1982, (2) created sanctions against persons
and companies that hired illegal aliens, (3) created the a new
classification of temporary agriculture and granted amnesty to such
workers, (4) created a new visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) allowing
the admission of certain non-immigrants without visas, (4) created
legislature for conditional status for those couples whose marriage is
less than two years prior to immigrating to the US. Under IRCA 2.7
illegal aliens mostly from Mexico were given legal immigrant status.
These new laws opened the door to the longest and largest wave of
immigration ever-27 million since 1965, including illegal entries.
The visa waiver pilot program (VWPP) is designed to extend