History Of Imigration Essay

365 Words2 Pages
The history of immigration law in the United States provides an interesting backdrop from which to analyze this country's views of race and class, which are often reflected in laws concerning immigration. One example of this connection is the laws concerning denial of benefits to undocumented people in the United States. Such laws began taking form when people of color began immigrating to the United States in large numbers from developing nations. During the settlement of the colonies, immigrants arrived freely, limited only by the cost of travel, diseases, and the harsh environment found in the colonies. In the years before the American Revolution, immigrants came to the colonies from England, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, and Portugal. During this period, slaves from Africa were also forcibly brought to this country. The only immigration restrictions at this time were on criminals and public charges. These restrictions illustrated the hostility felt towards newcomers by colonists who had only just arrived themselves. Immigration was, however, still favored to the extent that the colonies needed more people for labor and development. It is important to note that extensive federal legislation dealing with immigration was not enacted for some time. At first it was unclear whether the federal government was given the authority by the Constitution to regulate immigration. Also, unrestricted immigration was still desirable as a means for obtaining labor and achieving growth as a nation. Discontent with an open immigration policy increased with the tremendous rate of immigration and with the change in the composition of immigrants. Between 1820 and 1880, political and economic conditions brought over 2.8 million Irish immigrants to the United States. German Catholic immigrants also came during the 1840s. American society did not accept the Irish

More about History Of Imigration Essay

Open Document