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New Anti-Immigration Pledge Violates American Principles

May 14, 2014 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

The standard caveat issued by those who advocate tight immigration restrictions is that while they support legal immigration, they want to crack down on unauthorized immigration. Now, some immigration restrictionists are taking it a step further in opposing even legal immigration.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has sponsored a pledge for political candidates to oppose legal immigration as well as amnesty for unauthorized immigrants. FAIR’s pledge has already garnered some signatories like Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel (R) and Nebraska Senatorial primary candidate Shane Osborn (R) who failed to ride the supposed anti-immigration polls into elected office.

The United States can have a smaller government and freer immigration.”

American principles implore us to oppose such an anti-immigration pledge. Indeed, one of King George III’s many “injuries and usurpations” listed in the Declaration of Independence was “obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners” and “refusing to pass others to encourage their migration.”

The very first Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1790, which had zerorestrictions on immigration. You read that right: the first immigration law passed in the United States, by many of the framers themselves, supported open immigration. It shamefully restricted citizenship to white residents, thus excluding indentured servants, slaves, and former slaves, but there were no restrictions on who could come here and work.

Restrictions on naturalization were soon loosened even further. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution granted citizenship to freed slaves and their descendants and effectively extended citizenship to all children of non-naturalized immigrants regardless of race.. Finally, in 1898 the Supreme Court ruled, in the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, that all children of immigrants born under U.S. jurisdiction were citizens regardless of race.

But while the racial requirements for citizenship were being stripped away, successive Congresses began to break with America’s traditionally open immigration system. The Page Act in 1875 barred the immigration of contracted laborers, prostitutes, and former convicts in their country of origin. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act halted Chinese immigration while agreements with Japan halted Japanese immigration in 1907.

Waves of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe came to dominate immigration flows in the early 20th century, prompting Progressiveseugenicists, anti-Catholics, populists, prohibitionists, and labor unionists to support numerical quotas on immigrants. They succeeded with the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, which imposed numerical limits on immigration for the first time.

Since then these immigration restrictions have shed their overt racial tones but have morphed into a complicated and restrictive …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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