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History of US Immigration and Amnesty

The storied history of United States amnesty began many years ago, as this is not a new topic. The immigration issue may have become more public, but it is an issue that has been around a long time. In fact, the immigrants have helped form America into the great melting pot that it is. Immigration is a very important part of US history. Before the United States became the way it is today, hundreds of thousands of immigrants settled on its land. The United States now have their own US Amnesty policy that can grant illegal immigrants a US pardon. This Amnesty policy is based on the fact that immigration is a large part of The US' history.

 

It is important to understand the history of US immigration to understand what prompted US amnesty policies. Without immigration, there would be no need for amnesty policies. The United States has always allowed immigrants into the country, and it has the most open immigration policy in the world, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. When America was young, it encouraged open immigration to populate the country. States started passing immigration laws after the Civil War. Here is a timeline of important events in the history of US immigration:

 

  • In 1875, immigration became a federal matter.
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  • In 1891, US Citizenship and Immigration Services was set up.
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  • Between 1900 and 1920, America's first massive influx of immigrants occurred when 24 million immigrants came to the United States.
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  • In 1921, a quota system was put in place. Each nationality was assigned a quota of how many people could come in. The system favored immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.
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  • In 1924, the US Border Control was set up.
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  • During 1929 to 1941, the Great Depression years, immigration was low, sometimes dropping to zero.
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  • In 1951, a formal agreement was struck between the United States and Mexico to import seasonal workers for the agricultural industry.
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  • In 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act, also called the Hart-Cellar Act, was passed. Its purpose was to set up a preference system to encourage skilled immigration to America and to reunite families. It did away with the immigrant's nationality as a criterion. Immigrants from Asia and Latin America started arriving to the United States.
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  • The Refugee Act of 1980 was passed to provide emergency admission of refugees.

 

You can read about US Immigration Amnesty Facts to the right.

 

US Amnesty Immigration and Amnesty Facts

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is a controversial topic. Countries have borders, and one major job of most governments is to oversee those borders and regulate who enters. Here are some interesting facts about illegal immigrants in the United States:

 

  • Illegal immigrants, as of 2012, made up 3.5 percent of the US population, which is about 11 million people. This is down from the peak year of 2007 when illegal immigrants made up 4 percent of the population.
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  • Mexicans, the largest illegal immigrant group, account for a little more than half the illegal immigrants in the United States.
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  • About 60 percent of illegal immigrants live in just six states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. The largest percentage of illegal immigrants (8 percent) is in Nevada.
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  • About 5 percent of the US workforce is made up of illegal immigrants. States with the highest percentage of illegal immigrant workers are Nevada, California, Texas and New Jersey.
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  • As of 2012, The Department of Homeland Security estimated that 11.4 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States.
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  • There were 662,483 illegal immigrants who were apprehended in 2013, with the majority of them being from Mexico.
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  • Over the years, there has been a great increase in the amount of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children: 14,721 in 2012, 24,668 in 2013, and approximately 60,000 in 2014. The US Customs and Border Protection has termed the illegal immigrant children as “unoccupied alien children” or “UAC” for short.

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