Our History of Banning Certain Groups from Immigrating

©9-2016 Matt Fitzgibbons, PatriotMusic.com

statue-of-libertyThroughout our history, the United States have always adapted our immigration policies to suit the times and the will of the citizenry.

Progressives have worked aggressively for decades to systematically rewrite history in support of their destructive ideologies. They must distort or ignore facts because facts lead to truth and common sense, and those are their greatest enemies. One such recent example is the claim that Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is a xenophobe, a racist and an anti-immigrant bigot for proposing we change our immigration policies to meet today’s specific needs.  Much of the population associates him with these disparaging terms but cannot cite a single reason for holding this belief, except that they hear it over and over again from the liberal media and that is their intention.

In the wake of increasing Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist attacks within the United States and around the world, Donald Trump recently introduced a plan he refers to as “Extreme Vetting”.  As Trump stated, “Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.” Trump’s overall position on legal immigration would include temporarily suspending entry by individuals from countries with high numbers of potential terrorists. On illegal immigration, Trump has promised to adhere to the oath all Presidents must take by enforcing both the U.S. Constitution and existing laws.   He claims he will stop the flow with a wall on our southern border, which he intends to “make Mexico pay for.” President Obama, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Progressive Representatives and even the Pope, all of whom are regularly surrounded by walls and armed security guards, have decried Trumps’ proposals as unprecedented and contrary to American values. However, their mission to eradicate facts is incomplete. Our true history is still available, and on Mr. Trump’s side.

For the first 7 years of U.S. history, under our first constitution (The Articles of Confederation), immigration fell under State jurisdiction. Requirements varied from State to State and included stipulations that immigrants take an oath disavowing loyalty to their country of origin; that they be of the Christian religion; of good character, etc.  Almost immediately after the U.S. Constitution went into effect in 1789, the 1790 Alien Naturalization Act established national guidelines requiring all immigrants be ‘free white persons’ (which excluded slaves, indentured servants and most women, all of whom were considered as dependents), that they be of good moral character, and that they take an oath of allegiance supporting the U.S. Constitution.

Later laws changed the period of residence and required immigrants to disavow any title of nobility. However, citizenship itself was bestowed by any court with jurisdiction in the immigrant’s State of residence. In 1837, the Supreme Court ruled in New York v. Miln with Chief Justice Philip P. Barbour writing:
“We think it as competent and as necessary for a state to provide precautionary measures against the moral pestilence of paupers, vagabonds, and possibly convicts as it is to guard against the physical pestilence which may arise from unsound and infections articles.”

1892-immigrantsIn 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation which outlawed importing cheap Chinese Laborers (Coolies) while maintaining immigration of “free or voluntary Chinese subject(s)”. By the 1880s, all State immigration laws were ruled illegal.

The 1882 Act to Regulate Immigration both suspended immigration by Chinese laborers and prohibited entry of “any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge”. This signaled the beginning of the end of open immigration in the U.S. fueled by anti-Chinese sentiments in the Western States (with Oregon passing a Constitutional Amendment barring Chinese from owning or purchasing property) to anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic sentiments in the Eastern States, fueled by overburdened social services and labor unions’ position against immigrants who were far cheaper to employ.

Between 1881 and 1924, America experienced the first Great Wave of immigration with an average of 600,000 new arrivals each year. While the vast majority came to love many of the Founding Principles of their new country, some brought unwelcome ideologies that advocated subversion such as anarchism, socialism and communism.

In 1903 the Anarchist Exclusion Act furthered immigration limitations by banning the admittance of four new categories: anarchists, epileptics, beggars and prostitutes. It also banned the immigration of anyone who “advocate(s) the overthrow by force of violence of the Government of the United States or of all governments or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials.”

immigration2In 1907, the Expatriation Act declared that Americans automatically lose U.S. citizenship by becoming a citizen of any other country, that any naturalized citizen loses their citizenship if they leave the U.S. for specific periods of time, that American women lose their citizenship if they marry a foreigner (unless they immediately divorce them), that children born to immigrants living in the U.S. become citizens if their parents become citizens while the child is a minor, and that children born to U.S. citizens must pledge allegiance to the U.S when they turn 18. (Much of the 1907 Expatriation Act was repealed by Congress in 1922 and the remainder in 1943.)

Also in 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” with Japan which stopped passports from being issued to Japanese laborers but allowed them for Japanese “picture brides”.  Angel Island, called The “Ellis Island of the West” opened off the coast of San Francisco in 1910. By 1920, between 6,000 and 19,000 Japanese ‘picture brides’ were processed there.

But most notably in the same year, was the Immigration Act of 1907 which banned entry by:
“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”

In 1917 the Asiatic Barred Zone Act set the first literacy requirements for anyone over the age of 16 and excluded entry by “idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, alcoholics, poor, criminals, beggars, any person suffering attacks of insanity, those with tuberculosis, and those who have any form of dangerous contagious disease, aliens who have a physical disability that will restrict them from earning a living in the United States…, polygamists and anarchists, those who were against the organized government or those who advocated the unlawful destruction of property and those who advocated the unlawful assault of killing of any officer.”

In 1921, the First Quota Act limited the number of immigrants from certain areas including Europe, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Asiatic Turkey, Persia, etc., favoring immigration by Protestant, northwestern Europeans.

mexican_criminalsBetween 1929 and 1936, the Mexican Repatriation Act sent thousands of illegal immigrants back to Mexico after the US Labor Secretary estimated in 1927 that there were over a million Mexicans in the United States illegally.

socialistsIn 1940, with the passing of the Alien Registration Act, criminal penalties were set for anyone in the United States advocating, abetting, or teaching overthrowing the U.S Government. It also required all alien residents over 14 to register with the U.S. Government and file a form stating occupational status and their political beliefs. Almost 5 million resident aliens were registered in the first four months. Its purpose was to identify and remove communists, with the national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party being among the first to be arrested and imprisoned.

In 1965, the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act abolished denying entry by immigrants on the basis of race, sex, or nationality. However, in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which prevented many legal immigrants from receiving most forms of public assistance for five years or until after becoming citizens.

Progressive sources often cite figures that less than 2% of the over twelve million immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island were rejected. However, they fail to mention that ships’ captains were often fined large sums by the U.S. Government for each immigrant they brought in who was turned away. Combined with the unknown numbers of potential immigrants turned away by U.S Customs officials in foreign ports even before boarding ships for the U.S., it is clear that the actual number of those rejected is far higher.

immigration-chartIn the last four decades, America has undergone what many refer to as “The Second Great Wave of Immigration” with the foreign-born population quadrupling since 1970 to over 40 million. As a sovereign nation and with the U.S. Constitution being the “supreme law of the land”, the United States are beholden to no other authority than the will of the people. Throughout our history, Americans have modified our immigration laws to suit the times. Why should we not do so now as well?

-Matt Fitzgibbons, PatriotMusic.com
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