Legacy Of Immigration Essay

1269 Words 6 Pages
The legacy of immigration and naturalization administration spans more than 100 years (Our history, 2011). Laws passed in the 1880’s implemented three elements to our immigration policies: “(a) restrictions based on personal characteristics, (b) restrictions based on national origin, (c) protection of American labor” (Laque, 2010, p. 5). When the federal government took over immigration in 1891 the Office of Superintendent of Immigration was part of the Treasury Department (Our history, 2011). Through the years the Office of Superintendent became the Bureau of Immigration under Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903, then Naturalization Service in 1906 (Our history, 2011). In subsequent years it bounced from agency to agency, ultimately being …show more content…
Four years before the Geary Act extended the Chinese Exclusion ACT; Congress passed the Scott Act banning Chinese immigrants from returning to the U.S. after they left (Rowen, 2000-2016). In 1943, fifty-one years later, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed allowing Chinese workers to immigrate to the U.S. but an annual quota of 105 was implemented (Rowen, 2000-2016). By 1892 the number of immigrants was so high that the government needed a way to handle the influx, thus designating Ellis Island as a federal immigration station in 1892 (U.S. immigration before 1965, 2009). Ellis Island served as the primary immigration station from 1892 to 1954, processing more than 12 million immigrants (Rowen, 2000-2016). Early explanations of immigration stressed the ideology that America in part provides “an asylum, wherein the blessings of liberty would await all men” (Totten, 2008, p. …show more content…
149). Dramatic changes in policy would be the national origins quota from 1882 to 1924 with the exclusion of all Asians and African immigrants and severe limitations on eastern Europeans. Immigrant communities themselves held mass meetings, distributed petitions, and sent delegates to Congressional hearings on immigration policy. The influx of immigrants provided a cheap supply of unskilled labor pitting immigrants against native-born or against like ethnic groups (Seller, 1982, p. 149). To curtail immigration from southern and eastern Europe, the U.S. implemented the literacy test that was to be rational and free of ethnic bias (Seller, 1982, p. 154). The failure of the literacy test to not reduce the number of undesirables, Congress imposed a quota system in 1921 limiting annual immigration from European nations to “3% of the number from that nation residing in the United States as of 1910” (Seller, 1982, p.

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