History of Immigration Reforms
To date, there have been many immigration reforms. All of the immigration reforms to date have helped shape the current immigration reforms. One of the first immigration reforms was the Naturalization Act of 1790. This article of legislation allowed free white persons of good character and who lived in the United States for 2 years to apply for citizenship (US Immigration Legislation: 1790). The Naturalization Act of 1795 amended the 1790 act, and increased the residency requirement to 5 years, plus the person had to give a 3-year notice of intention to apply for citizenship (US Immigration Legislation: 1795). The Naturalization Act of 1798 amended the 1795 act, and increased the residency requirement to 14 years, plus the person had to give a 5-year notice of intention to apply for citizenship (US Immigration Legislation: 1798). Under the Jefferson administration, the Naturalization Act of 1802 aimed to decrease the hostility towards immigrants, and reduced the period of residence required for naturalization from 14 years to 5 years (Naturalization Act).
Probably one of the biggest and most important reforms in United States history of naturalization laws was the addition of the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution in 1868. The 14th amendment granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United Sates, which included former slaves recently freed, forbids states from denying any person life, liberty or property without due process of law, or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (Primary Documents in American History). A landmark case that also was very important in the history of United States reforms was United States v. Wong Kim Ark. In 1898, the Supreme Court held that children born in the United States, even to parents not eligible to become citizens, are citizens themselves under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Wang, 2011).
One of the next reforms in U.S. history was the 1917 Immigration Act, which restricted the immigration of undesirables from other countries, taxed immigrants $8 per person, and imposed a literacy test on immigrants entering the country (U.S. Immigration Legislation: 1917).
The 1921 Emergency quota act was the next reform in U.S. history, which limited the immigration of aliens into the United States based on the immigrants’ country of birth (U.S. Immigration Legislation: 1921). In 1932, President Roosevelt and the State Department of Immigration shut down immigration because of the Great depression, which became known as the 1932 Immigration Shut Down.
The Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 abolished the quota systems that had been in place since the 1920’s. Instead of quotas, the Hart-Cellar act established an immigration policy that focused on reuniting immigrant families and attracting skilled laborers (U.S. Immigration Legislation: 1965). According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Website, the 1990...