These American liberals are saying that America was always open to immigrants from any background whatsoever and always a massive melting-pot that welcomed them as citizens.
Now is that true?
Why is it, then, that the first United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 says this?:
“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof on application to any common law Court of record in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law to support the Constitution of the United States, which Oath or Affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such Application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a Citizen of the United States. And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, that no person heretofore proscribed by any States, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an Act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.”As even the basic discussion of the 1790 United States Naturalization Law here points out, this legislation excluded “American Indians, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks, and Asians” from US citizenship. The subsequent naturalisation acts of 1795 and 1798 did not change this basic framework.
Now I find it morally repugnant that the native American people and others were simply excluded from citizenship on this basis, and am perfectly comfortable with a minority of ethnic groups in my country with full citizenship rights, as I have I said here, but clearly American liberals are shamefully rewriting the history of American immigration policy.
As we can see from the history of United States immigration laws here, citizenship and immigration laws generally became more and more restrictive right up until the 1920s.
(1) Page Act of 1875So, quite clearly, American naturalisation policy was restricted to Europeans from 1790, which itself discouraged non-European immigration.
This act excluded Asian and Chinese forced labourers, Asian woman engaging in prostitution, and all people who were convicted criminals in their own country. It was driven by working class hostility to Chinese coolie labour.
(2) the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
This immigration act prohibited all immigration of Chinese labourers, and like the act of 1875 was driven by socialist, trade unions and working class opposition to Asian immigration. This was extended and even made more onerous by the Geary Act of 5 May, 1892.
(3) the 1885 Alien Contract Labor Law
This law was a pro-working class measure designed “to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States.”
(4) Immigration Act of 1903 (the Anarchist Exclusion Act)
This immigration act law excluded anarchists, people with epilepsy, beggars, and importers of prostitutes.
(5) Naturalization Act of 1906
This immigration law made the US federal government the policy maker of national immigration and naturalization policy, and stated “That no alien shall hereafter be naturalized or admitted as a citizen of the United States who can not speak the English language.”
(6) Immigration Act of 1907
This immigration act excluded a vast swathe of people:“All idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons, and persons who have been insane within five years previous; persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; paupers; persons likely to become a public charge; professional beggars; persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental or physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living.”(7) Immigration Act of 1917
This immigration act excluded a vast group of people from an “Asiatic Barred Zone” including much of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
(8) the (a) Immigration Act of 1924 and (b)
National Origins Formula
These set strict limits on immigrants to “2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States” and essentially limited immigration to southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans; it excluded Africans, Arabs and Asians.
At the same time, from the date of June 30, 1927 it made “total immigration from all countries … limited to 150,000, with allocations by country based upon national origins of inhabitants according to the census of 1920.” This was designed to preserve the “ethnic distribution of the population” of the US. This was the foundation of the American system of immigration from 1924 to 1965.
When non-European immigration became significant and was opposed particularly by broad working class movements, it was severely restricted from the 1870s, and right up until the 1920s.
America’s immigration policy was, then, highly restrictive from the 1920s until as recently as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the National Origins Formula, but which, at the same time, “set numerical restrictions on visas at 170,000 per year, with a per-country-of-origin quota.”
It was only in the Immigration Act of 1990 that America introduced a much more liberalised immigration policy, which allowed 675,000 immigrants per year after 1994, and a “diversity” program to allow people from many different countries to immigrate to the US. The 1990 act also introduced the now notorious H-1B visas (on which, see here).
So, American liberals, are you going to admit that this is the truth about the history of immigration in your nation, instead of clinging to your liberal myths?