Immigration Laws: A History of Racism

While white immigrants came by the thousands to our shores looking for freedom and a chance at prosperity, non-whites were looked upon with suspicion, often experienced rejection. The history of immigration to the United States is filled with examples of racial profiling. For instance, the Irish were allowed to come here only to fill jobs that were considered too dangerous for a white person, or Black slave (being considered a valuable piece of property) to attempt. The Irish were not alone in this exploitation. The Chinese were also allowed to come to our shores to work on the Western Pacific Railroad, and to work service jobs supporting the gold miners in California. Italians also were looked upon with suspicion, allowed to come, reluctantly, because their skin was normally darker than that of the Northwestern Europeans (British, French, and Germans). The racial profiling began with the start of our country as a free nation.Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia stated;

The first naturalization law in the United States was the Naturalization Act of 1790, which restricted naturalization to “free white persons” of “good moral character” who had resided in the country for two years and had kept their current state of residence for a year (Statutes At Large, First Congress, Session II, p.103).

Did you notice the word “white?” That word was the foundation upon which the United States built this nation, a land of prosperity for Whites. The profiling began immediately, based entirely on skin color! The same racial restrictions would end up at various times within our United States Immigration and Naturalization laws to apply to others of Asian (Japan, Republic of  the Philippines, Chinese, Korean, etc.) descent. Those of Latino/Hispanic background, being of a darker skin color than their white neighbors are still experiencing racial discrimination, which is why they group together in small communities of their own. Whether they have been in this country for over a century as U.S. citizens or not, they are now the target of the threat of deportation, and family separation. The future of their children is now at stake. What would you do?

            When a legal means of immigration does not exist, a person will, in desperation, attempt to migrate to wherever there is family, a job, and a means to get ahead in life. Illegal? Yes, it is! But there undeniably exists a natural human drive to reunite with loved ones, to be a cohesive unit, a family that cannot be denied. This is the current situation with Mexican immigrants today. Many have come to find work, a better quality of living, and the chance to experience progress in the United States for themselves and their children.





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