List of United States immigration laws

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A number of major laws and court decisions relating to immigration procedures and enforcement have been enacted in the United States.

Year Name of Legislation/Case Major Highlights
1798

Naturalization Act (officially An Act to Establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization; ch. 54, 1 Stat. 566)

Alien Friends Act (officially An Act Concerning Aliens; ch. 58, 1 Stat. 570)

Alien Enemies Act (officially An Act Respecting Alien Enemies; ch. 66, 1 Stat. 577)

  • Extended the duration of residence required for immigrants to become citizens to 14 years. Enacted June 18, 1798, with no expiration date, it was repealed in 1802.
  • Authorized the president to deport any resident immigrant considered "dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States." It was activated June 25, 1798, with a two-year expiration date.
  • Authorized the president to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States of America. Enacted July 6, 1798, and providing no sunset provision, the act remains intact today as 50 U.S.C. § 21
1875 Page Act of 1875 (Sect. 141, 18 Stat. 477, 1873-March 1875)
  • The first federal immigration law and prohibited the entry of immigrants considered as "undesirable"
  • The law classified as "undesirable" any individual from Asia who was coming to America to be a contract laborer
  • strengthen the ban against “coolie” laborers, by imposing a fine of up to $2,000 and maximum jail sentence of one year upon anyone who tried to bring a person from China, Japan, or any oriental country to the United States “without their free and voluntary consent, for the purpose of holding them to a term of service”
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
  • Restricted immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years.
  • Prohibited Chinese naturalization.
  • Provided deportation procedures for illegal Chinese.
  • Marked the birth of illegal immigration (in America).[1]
  • The Act was “a response to racism [in America] and to anxiety about threats from cheap labor [from China].” [2]
1891 Immigration Act
  • First comprehensive immigration laws for the US.
  • Bureau of Immigration set up in the Treasury Dept.
  • Immigration Bureau directed to deport unlawful aliens.
  • Empowered "the superintendent of immigration to enforce immigration laws".[3]
1898 United States v. Wong Kim Ark[4] A child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution,

As a consequence, Chinese immigrants were able to enter the US illegally by claiming they were born in California after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed all San Francisco’s birth and citizenship records. "Papers for fictitious children were sold in China, allowing Chinese to immigrate despite the laws." [1]

1921 Emergency Quota Act
  • Limited the number of immigrants from any country to 3% of those already in the US from that country as per the 1910 census.

“An unintended consequence of the 1920s legislation was an increase in illegal immigration. Many Europeans who did not fall under the quotas migrated to Canada or Mexico, which [as Western Hemisphere nations] were not subject to national-origin quotas; [and] subsequently they slipped into the United States illegally.” [5]

1924 Immigration Act
  • Imposed first permanent numerical limit on immigration.
  • Began a national-origin quota system.
1930s

Federal officials deported "Tens of thousands, and possibly more than 400,000, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans... Many, mostly children, were U.S. citizens." [6] "Applications for legal admission into the United States increased following World War II — and so did illegal immigration." [7] Some used fraudulent marriages as their method of illegal entry in the U.S. "Japanese immigration became disproportionately female, as more women left Japan as "picture brides", betrothed to emigrant men into the U.S. who they had never met." [8]

1952 Immigration and Nationality Act
  • Set a quota for aliens with skills needed in the US.
1953 Kwong Hai Chew v. Colding Template:344 U.S. 590, 596 The Supreme Court found, "The Bill of Rights is a futile authority for the alien seeking admission for the first time to these shores. But once an alien lawfully enters and resides in this country he becomes invested with the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to all people within our borders".
1954 A wave of illegal immigration came from Mexico in the early 1950s, but it was dampened by President Eisenhower.[9]
1965 INA Amendments
  • Repealed the national-origin quotas.
  • Initiated a visa system for family reunification and skills.
  • Set a quota for Western Hemisphere immigration.
  • Set a 20k country limit for Eastern Hemisphere aliens.
1970s

The United States saw a total number of illegal immigrants estimated at 1.1 million, or half of one percent of the United States population.[10]

1976 INA Amendments
  • Set a 20k country limit for Western Hemisphere aliens.[11]
1980s
  • About 1.3 million illegal immigrants entered the US.[12]
1982 Plyler v. Doe,[13] 457 U.S. 202 (1982) The Supreme Court of the United States struck down a state statute denying funding for education to children who were illegal immigrants. It established that a state must show that substantial state interests are furthered before that state can deny a discrete group of children the free public education that it offers to other children within its borders.

The court also stated that illegal immigrants are "within the jurisdiction" of the states in which they reside and, therefore, receive 14th amendment protections and stated, "We have never suggested that the class of persons who might avail themselves of the equal protection guarantee is less than coextensive with that entitled to due process. To the contrary, we have recognized [457 U.S. 202, 212] that both provisions were fashioned to protect an identical class of persons, and to reach every exercise of state authority."

1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act
  • Started sanctions for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.
  • Provided amnesty to illegal aliens already in the US.[14]
  • Increased border enforcement.
1990s

Over 5.8 million illegal immigrants entered the US in the 1990s.[15] Mexico rose to the head of the list of sending countries, followed by the Philippines, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and China.[11]

1990 Immigration Act
  • Increased legal immigration ceilings.
  • Created a diversity admissions category.
  • Tripled the number of visas for priority workers and professionals with U.S. job offers[citation needed] [16]
1990 United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez[17] the court reiterated the finding of Kwong Hai Chew v. Colding, 344 U.S. 590, 596 (1953), "The Bill of Rights is a futile authority for the alien seeking admission for the first time to these shores. But once an alien lawfully enters and resides in this country he becomes invested with the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to all people within our borders".

Stated, "those cases in which aliens have been determined to enjoy certain constitutional rights establish only that aliens receive such protections when they have come within the territory of, and have developed substantial connections with, this country. See, e. g., Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 212 ."

1996 Illegal Immigration Act
  • Phone verification for worker authentication by employers.
  • Access to welfare benefits more difficult for legal aliens.
  • Increased border enforcement.
  • Reed Amendment attempted to deny visas to former U.S. citizens, but was never enforced[18]
1999 Rodriguez v. United States, 169 F.3d 1342, (11th Cir. 1999) Held that statutes which discriminate within the class of aliens comport with the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment (and the equal protection principles it incorporates) so long as they satisfy rational basis scrutiny.
Post 9/11/2001
  • it is estimated that in the first half of the decade starting in year 2000 over 3.1 million illegal immigrants entered the United States.[16]
  • the percentage of Mexicans entering the US illegally jumped from 68% in 1998–2001 to 78% in 2001–2005 mostly because of stricter security measures (tied to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks).[19]
2002 Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act
  • Provided for more Border Patrol agents.
  • Requires that schools report foreign students attending classes.
  • Stipulates that foreign nationals in the US will be required to carry IDs with biometric technology.[20]
2005 Real ID Act
  • Required use of IDs meeting certain security standards to enter gov't buildings, board planes, open bank accounts.
  • Established national standards for state driver licenses.
  • Cleared the way for the building of border barriers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chinese Laborers Work on a Railroad How Illegal Immigration Was Born. American Heritage. By Claire Lui. Retrieved: March 7, 2008.[dead link]
  2. ^ James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, Eds. The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, (1997). The National Academic Press. page 23, 3rd paragraph. ISBN 0-309-06356-6.
  3. ^ The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration
  4. ^ FindLaw for Legal Professionals – Case Law, Federal and State Resources, Forms, and Code
  5. ^ James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, Eds. The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, (1997). The National Academic Press. page 26, 4th paragraph. ISBN 0-309-06356-6.
  6. ^ U.S. urged to apologize for 1930s deportations. USA Today, April 5, 2006. By Wendy Koch. Retrieved: March 7, 2008.
  7. ^ James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, Eds. "The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration", (1997). The National Academic Press. page 27, 2nd paragraph. ISBN 0-309-06356-6.
  8. ^ Japanese Immigration via Fraudulent Marriage.
  9. ^ How Eisenhower solved illegal border crossings from Mexico, John Dillin, July 6, 2006, Accessed April 2, 2013
  10. ^ [1].
  11. ^ a b James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, Eds. "The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration", (1997). The National Academic Press. page 28. ISBN 0-309-06356-6.
  12. ^ Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population. March 21, 2005 Page 8.
  13. ^ PLYLER v. DOE, 457 U.S. 202 (1982) Argued December 1, 1981 Decided June 15, 1982
  14. ^ Until 1986 the US had never forgiven the act of illegal immigration.
  15. ^ Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population March 21, 2005 Page 8.
  16. ^ a b Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub.L. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978, enacted November 29, 1990.)
  17. ^ FindLaw for Legal Professionals – Case Law, Federal and State Resources, Forms, and Code
  18. ^ Kirsch, Michael S. (2006). "The Tax Code as Nationality Law". Harvard Journal on Legislation 43 (2): 375–436. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  19. ^ More Mexicans migrating to U.S. than die in Mexico
  20. ^ Rubén Martínez. The New Americans. (New York: The New Press, 2004). Page 22.