Essay on Immigration
For hundreds of years, the United States has been a glimmer of hope for individuals in every corner of the world in search of protection and refuge. It is imperative that U.S. immigration policies must persist in order to protect those who desperately need it. Many are aware that substantial migration to the North American English colonies was predominantly refugees fleeing oppression and persecution. (Haines 2019) Persecution and flight are the basis of the experience of many new American arrivals who are often represented openly as immigrants. Opinions and laws regarding U.S. immigration have wavered from accepting to rejecting since the start of our country. (Haines 2019)
In the year 1849, the Know-Nothing Party was formed in opposition to the rising number of immigrants in the U.S. In 1875 the Supreme Court declared that it is the federal government’s obligation to make and enforce U.S. immigration laws. In 1819, many immigrants arrived ill or on the brink of death from their lengthy voyage to America traveling in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. (History.com Editors 2018) The U.S. Border Patrol was established in 1924 to prevent immigrants from illegally entering the U.S. Many of illegal immigrants were Chinese and Asian immigrants who had been prohibited from legally entering. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan enacted the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which granted amnesty to over 3 million illegal immigrants. (History.com Editors 2018)
However, America has not always been welcoming to immigrants seeking refuge and those rejections often repeat through our country’s history. Even before the United States was founded, immigrants were often turned away by the colonists who they themselves had once searched for what these immigrants strive to find: refuge and hope for a better life. (Haines 2019) The Civil War immensely reduced immigration but, as immigration rose again following the war, opposing responses converted into formal legal restrictions. Such restrictions have negatively impacted important American ethics and our country’s image from other countries. (Haines 2019) As we think of refugees now, we remember not only the extent of American history but also the scope of the current world and its connection to the United States.
Many of America’s first immigrants came seeking religious freedom. However, most immigrants came to the U.S. in search of economic opportunities. The arrival of immigrants resulted in anti-immigrant bias among certain native-born citizens. These immigrants were often viewed as undesirable competition in the job market, while many experienced discrimination for their religious beliefs. (History.com Editors 2009) In the 1850s, the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party tried to sternly hinder immigration. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act, restricted Chinese workers from migrating to America. This was the first law that was put in place regarding immigration. It was California citizens who appeased for the new law and blamed the Chinese, who were complying to work fewer hours, for a reduced paycheck. (History.com Editors 2009)
“To appease economic and racial concerns, this radical exclusion act prohibited most of all immigrants from China, with only a few exceptions. Furthermore, the Immigration Act prohibited people who were penniless, not of sound mind, or criminals from entering the U.S.” (Little 2017)