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U.S. Past and Present Immigration Law

U.S. Past and Present Immigration Law

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Immigration is still a popular and controversial issue in U.S. news, especially during the present presidential administration. Fortunately, HeinOnline has assembled the very important U.S. immigration laws into a database that will help users keep ahead of developments in applicable policy and law.

Immigration Law & Policy from the U.S.

Since its launch in April 2013, HeinOnline's Immigration Law & Policy from the U.S. database has increased by over 2,400 names to add over 3,000 volumes and 600,000 pages. The enormous collection is a set of the main historical records and laws related to immigration in the USA, in addition to present hearings, debates, and current developments in immigration law enforcement. As the comprehensive immigration database, this compilation comprises BIA Precedent Decisions, legislative foundations, law and coverage names, extradition names, scholarly articles, and much more.

HeinOnline is also Happy to offer the following special additions to this compilation:

  • Over 200 immigration reports released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- New
  • Two stopped serials (Refugee Reports and World Refugee Surveys) and over 100 issue papers from the U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants
  • Over 450 congressional research service (CRS) reports associated with immigration, such as recent reports by the Trump Administration.
  • Over 60 Supreme Court briefs associated with immigration.

Join us in an investigation of immigration laws, present, and past, with HeinOnline's authoritative group. If you do not yet subscribe to Immigration Law & Policy from the U.S., follow the link below to begin a trial now.

Legislation and Policies over Time

During the first century of U.S. history, anybody can proceed to the United States to reside permanently without constraints. This"open borders" policy lets all emigrating men from any country of the source cover taxes, join the army, and run business. But, just those who failed the naturalization process to become fully-fledged taxpayers will vote or hold elective office.

The Naturalization Act of 1790 demonstrated that foreign-born inhabitants of the United States may apply for citizenship given they'd dwelt at the U.S. for a couple of decades, had stayed in their current residence for a single year, and so were white, free, and of course "good moral character" Later amendments to the action, including the Naturalization Act of 1795along with also the Naturalization Act of 1798, went forth and back on the Number of years needed for residency.


The Naturalization Acts were amended at the Start of the 19th century:

The Naturalization Law of 1802, whose provisions have been canon before the mid-1900s, kept the"free white" requirement for citizenship, falsified a statement of intent three decades ahead of time, enforced a five-year residency condition, also made concerns for native-born kids of immigrants. Subsequent significant naturalization laws wouldn't be introduced until over a century afterward.

In the later 1800s, the U.S. switched its attention toward greater than simply naturalization law. 

The Page Act of 1875 This action made it hard for almost any British or Chinese Asian girl to enter the USA, and consequently effectively prohibited the immigration of Chinese girls to the nation.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 further prohibited all Chinese labor immigrants for ten decades, irrespective of sex. Expanding upon the Page Act, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the very first U.S. legislation to exclude most immigrants from a particular ethnic or national group.

The Geary Act constructed upon the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1892 following the latter's ten-year interval had come to a close. The legislation revived the Chinese Exclusion Act for the following ten decades and further required that Chinese citizens carry a license as evidence of residence. Violations of the law were punishable by deportation or annually of penal labor. After another ten decades, the Geary Act will be revived without a terminal date.


Pre–World War II

The early 1900s saw steady growth in immigration, with over 13 million immigrants residing in the USA by 1910. In reaction, Congress passed restrictive immigration laws.

The Immigration Act of 1917, the very restrictive immigration law up to now, was passed with a considerable majority, actually overriding a veto from President Woodrow Wilson. The legislation excluded immigrants who had been (1) illiterate and above age sixteen, (2)"mentally defective" (a label that comprised homosexuals), and (3) originating from your"Asiatic barred zone" which comprised a lot of Asia and the Pacific Islands (except Japan and the Philippines). This act firmly controlled the immigration of badly represented inhabitants in the moment, such as Italians, Jews, Greeks, Poles, and other Slavs.

Early 20th-century legislation that had concentrated on claiming the American individuality was later amended and, occasionally, repealed and substituted with actions that eliminated restrictions and quotas, described refugee status, and believed family reunification a priority.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 gathered and codified present immigration laws into a text. For the very first time, the legislation removed racial limitations from U.S. immigration laws by eliminating the exception of Asian immigrants. The action failed, nevertheless, to maintain recognized quota systems for a variety of areas and nationalities. 

Additionally, the legislation created an employment-based preference system for admitting immigrants with education, applicable skills, and financial possibility. For this very day, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 stays the base of Title 8 of this U.S. Code. The legislation also set a global limitation on immigration, such as immigrants in the Western Hemisphere for the first time. The preceding preference system has been corrected to include seven classes, contemplating priorities relatives of U.S. citizens and citizens with technical skills. The action significantly increased the entire amount of immigrants into the United States, especially from Asia and Africa.

Users may see legislative histories of both of these monumental functions from the Immigration Law & Policy database. In the database house webpage, pick the tab entitled Acts & Legislative Histories.

Immigration reform in the 1990s further led to an increase in the lawful entrance to the United States:

The Immigration Act of 1990 enlarged and altered both the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, substantially raising the entire immigration limitation to 700,000 immigrants annually for a couple of decades, and 675,000 annually then. The act made a variety of new provisions in the title of immigration reform, such as family-based and employment-based visas (categorized by job ), a diversity visa application, and also a temporary protected status visa. The action also eliminated English literacy testing from the naturalization process for some inhabitants over age 55 and removed the exception of homosexuals.

While mid-to-late century laws opened the doors for improved legal immigration, laws concerning illegal immigration and its punishment turned into a focus, too.

  • View the action's legislative history here. The latter focused too on authorizing the construction of fencing near San Diego, California, and increasing the number of immigration officers devoted to enforcing immigration law. Civil penalties release for attempted illegal border crossings. Both laws have, in part, been the origin of two million person deportations from the USA since 1996.
  • The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, exposed several weak points in the U.S. immigration system, then affecting the American outlook on immigration. Safety and visa processing became important concerns during all boundaries of the USA, sea, and land.


Recently Presidential administrations, executive activities regarding immigration are especially common. DACA allowed people brought into the United States illegally with their parents to be given a renewable two-year period of deferment from deportation. DAPA could have given a"deferred action status" to undocumented immigrant parents of citizens but prevents it from going into effect.

Users may discover a multitude of outcomes about those two policies in HeinOnline's immigration database by inputting "Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals" OR"Deferred Action for Children of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents" to the primary search bar at the house webpage.

President Donald Trump has also signed several executive orders throughout his government about immigration:

  • "Improving Public Safety at the inside of the United States" prioritized the deportation of immigrants convicted of any offense, such as minor crimes, also imposed penalties on"sanctuary cities."
  • "Protecting the Country from Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States" suspended the entrance of immigrants in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days, the entrance of refugees from Syria to an unspecified quantity of time, along with the entrance of refugees for 120 days.
  • Maintain current developments in U.S. legislation as HeinOnline continues to develop its Immigration Law & Policy compilations.