List of United States immigration laws

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many acts of Congress and executive actions relating to immigration to the United States and citizenship of the United States have been enacted in the United States. Most immigration and nationality laws are codified in Title 8 of the United States Code.

Acts of Congress[edit]

Year Title Description Public law
1790 Naturalization Act of 1790 Established the rules for naturalized citizenship, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, but placed no restrictions on immigration. Citizenship was limited to white persons, with no other restriction on non-whites. Note: this is a restriction on naturalization (voting and office-holding), not on immigration. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 1–3
1795 Naturalization Act of 1795 Lengthened required residency to become citizen. Again, this is a restriction on naturalization, not on immigration. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 3–20

Naturalization Act of 1798

Extended the duration of residence required for immigrants to become citizens to 14 years. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 5–54
1798 Alien Friends Act 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.
1798 Alien Enemies Act 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
1802 Naturalization Law of 1802 Repealed the Naturalization Act of 1798. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 7–28
1819 Steerage Act of 1819 Required ship captains to report on all passengers entering the United States by port. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 15–46
1855 Carriage of Passengers Act of 1855 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 33–213
1864 An Act to Encourage Immigration The first major law to encourage immigration Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 38–246
1866 Civil Rights Act of 1866 Established birthright citizenship in the United States
1866 (No short title) Sent the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution for ratification by the states. The amendment was ratified in 1868, establishing birthright citizenship as constitutional law under the Citizenship Clause.
1868 Expatriation Act of 1868 Affirmed the right to relinquish American nationality.
1870 Naturalization Act of 1870
  • Extended the naturalization process to "aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent."
  • Other non-whites were not included in this act and remained excluded from naturalization, per the Naturalization Act of 1790
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 41–254
1875 Page Act of 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"
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 43–141
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]
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 47–126
1882 Passenger Act of 1882 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 47–374
1882 Immigration Act of 1882
  • Imposed a 50 cent head tax to fund immigration officials.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 47–376
1885 Alien Contract Labor Law Prohibited the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 48–164
1887 Payson Act of 1887 Restricted ownership of land to citizens and those undergoing naturalization. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 49–340
1888 Scott Act Prohibited Chinese people that had resided in America from returning after leaving. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 50–1064
1888 (No short title) Authorized the federal government to deport unauthorized immigrants within one year of their entry.
1891 Immigration Act of 1891
  • First comprehensive immigration laws for the US.
  • Bureau of Immigration set up in the Treasury Dept.[3]
  • Immigration Bureau directed to deport unlawful aliens.
  • Empowered "the superintendent of immigration to enforce immigration laws".[4]
  • Prohibited polygamists and those with contagious diseases from entering the United States.
  • Expanded immigration enforcement to land borders.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 51–551
1892 Geary Act Extended and strengthened the Chinese Exclusion Act. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 52–60
1893 (No short title) Required additional information about individuals entering the United States.
1903 Immigration Act of 1903 (Anarchist Exclusion Act) Added four inadmissible classes: anarchists, people with epilepsy, beggars, and importers of prostitutes Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 57–162
1906 Naturalization Act of 1906
  • Standardized naturalization procedures
  • Made some knowledge of English a requirement for citizenship
  • Established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 59–338
1907 Immigration Act of 1907 Restricted immigration for certain classes of disabled and diseased people Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 59–96
1907 Expatriation Act of 1907
1917 Immigration Act of 1917 (Barred Zone Act) Restricted immigration from Asia by creating an "Asiatic Barred Zone" and introduced a literacy test for all immigrants over sixteen years of age, with certain exceptions for children, wives, and elderly family members. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 64–301
1917 Jones–Shafroth Act Included a provision extending birthright citizenship to anyone born in Puerto Rico after April 11, 1899. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 64–368
1918 Immigration Act of 1918 Expanded on the provisions of the Anarchist Exclusion Act. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 65–221
1920 Passport Act of 1920 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 66–238
1921 Emergency Quota Act
  • Limited the number of immigrants a year from any country to 3% of those already in the US from that country as per the 1910 census, establishing the National Origins Formula.

"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]

Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 67–5
1922 The Cable Act of 1922 (Married Women's Independent Nationality Act) Reversed former immigration laws regarding marriage, also known as the Married Women's Citizenship Act or the Women's Citizenship Act. Previously, a woman lost her US citizenship if she married a foreign man, since she assumed the citizenship of her husband, a law that did not apply to men who married foreign women. The law repealed sections 3 and 4 of the Expatriation Act of 1907. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 67–346
1924 Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act)
  • Created the United States Border Patrol.
  • Imposed first permanent numerical limit on immigration.
  • Began a national-origin quota system.
  • Total annual immigration was capped at 150,000. Immigrants fit into two categories: those from quota-nations and those from non-quota nations.
  • Immigrant visas from quota-nations were restricted to the same ratio of residents from the country of origin out of 150,000 as the ratio of foreign-born nationals in the United States. The percentage out of 150,000 was the relative number of visas a particular nation received.
  • Non-quota nations, notably those contiguous to the United States only had to prove an immigrant's residence in that country of origin for at least two years prior to emigration to the United States.
  • Laborers from Asiatic nations were excluded but exceptions existed for professionals, clergy, and students to obtain visas.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 68–139
1924 Indian Citizenship Act Granted citizenship to Native Americans in the United States. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 68–175
1926 Passport Act of 1926 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 69–493
1934 Tydings–McDuffie Act Granted independence to the Philippines territory. Recognized all Filipinos as foreigners. Established a quota of 50 Filipino immigrants annually. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 73–127
1934 Equal Nationality Act of 1934
  • Allowed foreign-born children of American mothers and alien fathers who had entered America before age 18 and lived in America for five years to apply for American citizenship for the first time.
  • Made the naturalization process quicker for American women's alien husbands.
1940 Alien Registration Act (Smith Act) Included a requirement that non-citizen residents register with the government and be fingerprinted. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 76–670
1940 Nationality Act of 1940 Pertains chiefly to "Nationality at Birth," Nationality through Naturalization," and "Loss of Nationality" Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 76–853
1943 Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943 (Magnuson Act) Repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act and permitted Chinese nationals already in the country to become naturalized citizens. A quota of 105 new Chinese immigrants were allowed into America per year. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 78–199
1944 Renunciation Act of 1944 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 78–405
1945 War Brides Act Exempted spouses and children of American service-members from immigration quota restrictions.
1946 Alien Fiancées and Fiancés Act Extended the War Brides Act to citizens of the Philippines and India. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 79–471
1946 Luce–Celler Act Increased the quota from the Philippines and India to 100 immigrants annually. Permitted Filipino and Indian immigrants to be naturalized. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 79–483
1947 Extended the War Brides Act to Japan and Korea.
1948 Displaced Persons Act Granted permanent residence to displaced persons from Europe. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 80–774
1950 Lodge–Philbin Act
1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act)
  • Set a quota for aliens with skills needed in the US.
  • Increased the power of the government to deport illegal immigrants suspected of Communist sympathies.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 82–414
1953 Refugee Relief Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 83–203
1958 (No short title) Facilitated permanent immigrant status for refugees from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 85–559
1960 (No short title) Authorized resettlement of certain refugees. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 86–648
1961 Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1961 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 87–301
1962 Migration and Refugee Assistance Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 87–510
1965 Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act)
  • 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.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 89–236
1966 Cuban Adjustment Act Cuban nationals who enter, or were already present in the United States, legal status. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 89–732
1970 (No short title) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 91–225
1974 (No short title) Increased funding for border enforcement facilities from $100,000 to $200,000. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 93–396
1974 (No short title) Repealed 8 U.S.C. 331–339. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 93–461
1975 Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act Admitted refugees from South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and funded relocation programs. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 94–23
1975 (No short title) Granted certain immigrant children adopted by unmarried citizens the same immigration status as such children adopted by married citizens. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 94–155
1976 (No short title) Set a quota of 170,000 annual immigrants from the Western Hemisphere and 120,000 annual immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 94–571
1978 (No short title) Eliminated the hemispheric quota system for immigration. Established the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 95–412
1978 (No short title) Required approval by an adoption agency before an immigrant visa is issued for international adoption. Removed the cap on the number of alien children that can be adopted. Eased naturalization requirements for adopted children. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 95–417
1978 (No short title) Banned the entry of any person that carried out persecution under the government of Nazi Germany. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 95–549
1980 Refugee Act
  • Created a policy for admitting refugees with the United Nations’ definition of refugees[6]
  • Set an annual cap of 50,000 refugees.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 96–212
1980 (No short title) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 96–422
1981 Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1981 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–116
1982 Virgin Islands Nonimmigrant Alien Adjustment Act of 1981 Granted resident status to certain non-citizens that have resided in the Virgin Islands since 1975. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–271
1982 (No short title) Gave priority to visas for residents of Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand that were fathered by American citizens. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–359
1982 Refugee Assistance Amendments of 1982 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–363
1986 (No short title) Authorized each state governor to select two residents of their state to be naturalized on Ellis Island. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 99–328
1986 (No short title) Authorized crewmen of foreign fishing vessels to temporarily enter Guam as nonimmigrant aliens. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 99–505
1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (Simpson–Mazzoli Act)
  • Started sanctions for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.
  • Provided amnesty to illegal aliens already in the US.[7][better source needed]
  • Increased border enforcement.
  • Made it a crime to hire an illegal immigrant
  • Created a path to permanent residency for some unauthorized immigrant workers[6]
  • Created the H-2A visa for seasonal agricultural workers[6]
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 99–603
1986 Refugee Assistance Extension Act of 1986 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 99–605
1986 Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 99–639
1986 Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1986 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 99–653
1988 American Homecoming Act Prioritized immigration of Vietnamese children with American fathers.
1988 Immigration Technical Corrections Act of 1988 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 100–525
1988 Immigration Amendments of 1988 Authorized an additional 25,000 visas for immigrants from certain countries in FY1989 and FY1990. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 100–658
1989 Immigration Nursing Relief Act of 1989 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 101–238
1990 Posthumous Citizenship for Active Duty Service Act of 1989 Authorized posthumous citizenship for noncitizen servicemembers of the United States Armed Forces killed in the line of duty. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 101–249
1990 Immigration Act of 1990
  • 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] [8]
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 101–649
1991 (No short title) Extended special temporary protected status for Salvadorans. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 102–65
1991 1991 Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act Granted special immigration status to immigrants that served in the United States Armed Forces for at least 12 years. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 102–110
1991 Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendments of 1991 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 102–232
1992 Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 Codified Executive Order 12711 into law, establishing permanent residence for certain Chinese nationals. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 102–404
1992 Soviet Scientists Immigration Act of 1992 Authorized special admission of 750 scientists from the former Soviet Union. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 102–509
1993 (No short title) Authorized funds for refugee assistance. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 103–37
1994 Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 103–416
1995 (No short title) Amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to redefine legitimate and illegitimate children. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 104–51 (text) (PDF)
1996 Omnibus Appropriations Act, 1997 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 104–208 (text) (PDF)
1996 (No short title) Extended authorized stay for certain non-citizen nurses. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 104–302 (text) (PDF)
1997 (No short title) Eliminated the certificate of citizenship transition rule applicable to certain children born outside the United States. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–38 (text) (PDF)
1997 Religious Workers Act of 1997 Extended the special migrant religious worker program through FY1999. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–54 (text) (PDF)
1997 (No short title) Included the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, which provided benefits to immigrants from certain countries. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–100 (text) (PDF)
1997 (No short title) Exempted internationally adopted children under age 10 from the immunization requirement. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–73 (text) (PDF)
1997 (No short title) Funded refugee and entrant assistance. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–136 (text) (PDF)
1998 American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act
1998 Visa Waiver Pilot Program Reauthorization Act of 1997 Extended the visa waiver pilot program and extended it to nationals of countries with a visa refusal rate of less than 3%. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–173 (text) (PDF)
1998 (No short title) Extended the deadline for the implementation of an automated entry and exit control system for non-citizens. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–259 (text) (PDF)
1998 Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–319 (text) (PDF)
1999 (No short title) Extended the processing period for visa applicants suspended following the 1998 United States embassy bombings. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 105–360 (text) (PDF)
1999 Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 406–95 (menu; GPO has not yet published law)
2000 American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act
2000 (No short title) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–104 (text) (PDF)
2000 (No short title) Granted child status to non-citizens adopted under the age of 18 when adopted with a sibling under the age of 16. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–139 (text) (PDF)
2000 Hmong Veterans' Naturalization Act of 2000 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–207 (text) (PDF)
2000 Immigration and Naturalization Service Data Management Improvement Act of 2000 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–215 (text) (PDF)
2000 (No short title) Increased filing fees for employers petitioning for H-1B visas. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–311 (text) (PDF)
2000 Kids 2000 Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–313 (text) (PDF)
2000 (No short title) Granted permanent resident status to 2,000 Syrian nationals. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–378 (text) (PDF)
2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–386 (text) (PDF)
2000 Child Citizenship Act of 2000 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–395 (text) (PDF)
2000 Visa Waiver Permanent Program Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–396 (text) (PDF)
2000 International Patient Act of 2000 Authorized visa extensions for individuals undergoing medical treatment. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–406 (text) (PDF)
2000 Religious Workers Act of 2000 Extended the special immigrant religious worker program of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–409 (text) (PDF)
2000 (No short title) Amended the Hmong Veterans' Naturalization Act to apply to certain spouses of deceased Hmong veterans. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–415 (text) (PDF)
2000 (No short title) Granted exemptions for the oath of renunciation and allegiance for immigrants that are unable to understand or communicate an understanding of the oath. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–448 (text) (PDF)
2000 Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000 Granted refugee status to nationals of certain Asian and European countries in exchange for the safe return of an American POW or MIA. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–484 (text) (PDF)
2000 (No short title) Granted special immigrant status for 100 broadcasting employees annually. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–536 (text) (PDF)
2000 Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 106–553 (text) (PDF)
2001 (No short title) Indefinitely extended a provision regarding nonimmigrants with S visas that possess information regarding criminal activity. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–45 (text) (PDF)
2002 (No short title) Authorized nonimmigrant spouses of E visa recipients to work in the United States. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–124 (text) (PDF)
2002 (No short title) Authorized nonimmigrant spouses of L visa recipients to work in the United States. Reduced the required duration of employment to apply for L visas from one year to six months. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–125 (text) (PDF)
2002 Basic Pilot Extension Act of 2001 Extended pilot programs of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–128 (text) (PDF)
2002 Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2002 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–150 (text) (PDF)
2002 Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002
  • 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.[10]
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–173 (text) (PDF)
2002 (No short title) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–185 (text) (PDF)
2002 Child Status Protection Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–208 (text) (PDF)
2002 (No short title) Extended the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act through FY2006. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–234 (text) (PDF)
2002 Persian Gulf War POW/MIA Accountability Act of 2002 Granted refugee status to nationals of Middle Eastern countries in exchange for the safe return of an American POW or MIA. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–258 (text) (PDF)
2002 Border Commuter Student Act of 2002 Created a special classification for Canadian and Mexican nationals that commute to the United States for study. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–274 (text) (PDF)
2002 Homeland Security Act of 2002
  • Moved all transportation, customs, immigration, and border security agencies to operate under the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Requires agencies to share information and coordinate efforts in relation to national security and border control.
  • Stipulates which agencies are responsible for which duties in relation to immigration and border security.
  • Outlines specific requirements on handling of children in immigration and border issues.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–296 (text) (PDF)
2003 (No short title) Extended the special immigrant religious worker program through FY2008. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 108–99 (text) (PDF)
2003 Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003 Extended pilot programs of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 108–156 (text) (PDF)
2004 (No short title) Extended the requirement of installation of equipment to process documents with biometric identifiers in all ports of entry by one year. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 108–299 (text) (PDF)
2004 (No short title) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 108–441 (text) (PDF)
2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005 Included the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 108–447 (text) (PDF)
2004 (No short title) Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 108–449 (text) (PDF)
2005 REAL ID Act
  • Required use of IDs meeting certain security standards to enter government buildings, board planes, open bank accounts.
  • Created more restrictions on political asylum
  • Severely curtailed habeas corpus relief for immigrants
  • Increased immigration enforcement mechanisms
  • Altered judicial review
  • Established national standards for state driver licenses.
  • Cleared the way for the building of border barriers.
Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 109–13 (text) (PDF)
2005 International Marriage Broker Regulation Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 109–162 (text) (PDF)
2006 Secure Fence Act of 2006 Authorized the construction of fencing along the Mexico–United States border. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 109–367 (text) (PDF)
2006 Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Reauthorization Act of 2005 Reauthorized the H-1C visa program through 2009. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 109–423 (text) (PDF)
2006 COMPETE Act of 2006 Expanded the definition of athletes and entertainers for P-1 visas. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 109–463 (text) (PDF)
2007 Physicians for Underserved Areas Act Extended the J-1 visa program through June 1, 2008. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 109–477 (text) (PDF)
2007 (No short title) Admitted an additional 500 immigration applicants for Iraqi and Afghan translators working with the United States. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 110–36 (text) (PDF)
2008 (No short title) Made minor adjustments to special immigrant status for Iraqis employed by the United States. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 110–242 (text) (PDF)
2008 Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act Simplified the fingerprinting process during naturalization. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 110–251 (text) (PDF)
2008 (No short title) Extended the J-1 visa waiver program through March 2009 and increased the number of foreign physicians from five to ten in state facilities. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 110–362 (text) (PDF)
2008 Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act Established the Office of the FBI Liaison in the DHS to support expedited processing of naturalization applications for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 110–382 (text) (PDF)
2008 Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program Act Extended the special immigrant program through March 2009. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 110–391 (text) (PDF)
2009 (No short title) Extended the special immigrant program and the J-1 visa waiver program through FY2009. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 111–9 (text) (PDF)
2010 International Adoption Simplification Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 111–220 (text) (PDF)
2010 (No short title) Appropriated emergency funds for border security. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 111–230 (text) (PDF)
2010 Help HAITI Act of 2010 Granted permanent resident status to 1,400 Haitians orphans that were adopted in the United States. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 111–293 (text) (PDF)
2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 2011 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 112–54 (text) (PDF)
2011 (No short title) Tolled the periods of time to file a petition and appear for an interview to remove the conditional basis for permanent resident status during active-duty service. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 112–58 (text) (PDF)
2012 (No short title) Extended several immigration programs by three years. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 112–176 (text) (PDF)
2012 (No short title) Created a reciprocal non-immigrant investor program with Israel. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 112–130 (text) (PDF)
2012 Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act Created the Border Enforcement Security Task Force within the Department of Homeland Security. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 112–205 (text) (PDF)
2012 (No short title) Recognized employment of contract with the American military as contributing toward the residency requirement for naturalization. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 112–227 (text) (PDF)
2013 (No short title) Extended authorization for Iraqi citizens to be granted special immigrant status for service during the Iraq War. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 113–42 (text) (PDF)
2014 Accuracy for Adoptees Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 113–74 (text) (PDF)
2014 Emergency Afghan Allies Extension Act of 2014 Authorized special immigrant visas for Afghan citizens that supported the United States in the War in Afghanistan. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 113–160 (text) (PDF)
2015 Adoptive Family Relief Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 114–70 (text) (PDF)
2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 2017 Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 115–79 (text) (PDF)
2015 Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (KIWI Act) Created a reciprocal non-immigrant investor program with New Zealand. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 115–226 (text) (PDF)
2019 Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act Granted resident status to certain non-citizens that have resided in the Northern Mariana Islands since 2009. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 116–24 (text) (PDF)
2019 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, 2019 Provided emergency spending on border security for FY2019. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 116–26 (text) (PDF)
2020 Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act Guaranteed that the children of U.S. citizens working abroad for the government in civilian or military service are granted citizenship. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 116–133 (text) (PDF)
2021 Securing America's Ports Act Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 116–299 (text) (PDF)
2022 Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act Recognized the Shadow Wolves as ICE special agents. Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 117–113 (text) (PDF)

Executive actions[edit]

Year Title Description
1954 Operation Wetback Immigration and Naturalization Service roundup and deportation of illegal immigrants in selected areas of California, Arizona, and Texas along the border. The U.S. Border Patrol later reported that more than 1.3 million people were deported or left the U.S. voluntarily under the threat of deportation in 1954.[11] [better source needed]
1990 Executive Order 12711 Deferred deportation of Chinese nationals in response to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. Later codified into law under the Chinese Student Protection Act.
2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.[12] As of 2018, the Trump administration was attempting to phase out the program, but was at least temporarily blocked by several lawsuits.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chinese Laborers Work on a Railroad How Illegal Immigration Was Born. American Heritage. By Claire Lui. Retrieved: March 7, 2008. Archived July 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  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. ^ Hester, Torrie (2010). "Protection, Not Punishment: Legislative and Judicial formation of U.S. Deportation Policy, 1882-19044". Journal of American Ethnic History. 30: 11–36. doi:10.5406/jamerethnhist.30.1.0011.
  4. ^ 2 Background to Contemporary U.S. Immigration - The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration - The National Academies Press. 1997. doi:10.17226/5779. ISBN 978-0-309-06356-2.
  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. ^ a b c "How U.S. immigration laws and rules have changed through history". Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  7. ^ Until 1986 the US had never forgiven the act of illegal immigration.
  8. ^ Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 101–649, 104 Stat. 4978, enacted November 29, 1990.)
  9. ^ Kirsch, Michael S. (2006). "The Tax Code as Nationality Law" (PDF). Harvard Journal on Legislation. 43 (2): 375–436. Retrieved May 18, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Rubén Martínez. The New Americans. (New York: The New Press, 2004). Page 22.
  11. ^ How Eisenhower solved illegal border crossings from Mexico, John Dillin, July 6, 2006, Accessed April 2, 2013
  12. ^ "The Reasoning and Implementation of the Decision". Retrieved January 25, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lemay, Michael and Elliott Robert Barkan (editors). U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Laws and Issues: A Documentary History. Greenwood Press, 1999. ISBN 0-313-30156-5
  • Zolberg, Aristide. A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America. Harvard University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-674-02218-1

External links[edit]