At what point will American citizens realize that we will not be able to accept any more immigrants, either legal or illegal. When will we realize that the people we do let in must have a skill or a profession other than "laborer." Most illegal alien coming to the states are grunt workers. Not doctors, scientist, or professors.
One may ask, "who will do the jobs that others will not?" Easy, cut off unemployment payments and force those who are abusing this system to work. When a person is hungry enough, they will work for food.
We have allowed to many unskilled people into this country for too long. It has been a drain on social services and law enforcement. So comrade and chump and all the other politicos can speak all they want about their beloved "immigration reform," but until we fix the "free lunch" mentality that has infected so many, we will continue to slide into the sludge status of a third world nation. Below is some good reading on the topic of immigration.
Although technically just a group of amendments to the existing Immigration and Nationality Act, the Immigration Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, in actuality fundamentally reshaped American Immigration for the remainder of the twentieth century and beyond. It abolished the national origins system set up in the Immigration Act of 1924 and modified by the Immigration Act of 1952. While seeming to maintain the principle of numerical restriction, it so increased the categories of persons who could enter "without numerical limitation" as to make its putative numerical caps—170,000 annually for the Eastern Hemisphere with a maximum of 20,000 per nation plus 120,000 annually for the Western Hemisphere with no national limitations—virtually meaningless within a few years. Its expansion and modification of the existing preference systems is shown in the Sidebar. Although little noticed at the time and virtually ignored in most general histories of the period, it can be seen as one of three major legislative accomplishments of 1965, the high-water mark of late-twentieth-century liberalism, along with the Voting Rights Act and the establishment of the Medicare and Medicaid system.
The final passage of the 1965 act was somewhat anticlimactic. The struggle to scrap the 1924 national origins formula had been going on in earnest since the end of World War II. Liberal immigration policy goals were established by President Harry S. Truman's Commission on Immigration and Naturalization in its 1953 report, Whom We Shall Welcome. That report was highly critical of the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, which was passed over Truman's veto. The reforms it urged and all attempts at systemic change were frustrated in Congress, although a number of statutes and executive branch actions added groups of immigrants, largely refugees, to the admissible mix.
The personnel changes in Congress accompanying President Lyndon Johnson's sweeping 1964 victory and the gradual diminution of religious, ethnic, and even racial prejudices in the nation at large made immigration reform an idea whose time had come. To be sure, a few restrictionist die-hards, such as Senator Sam Ervin (Democrat from North Carolina), tried to maintain the status quo. Ervin insisted that the McCarran-Walter Act was not discriminatory but was instead "like a mirror reflecting the United States, allowing the admission of immigrants according to a national and uniform mathematical formula recognizing the obvious and natural fact that those immigrants can best be assimilated into our society who have relatives, friends, or others of similar background already here." What Ervin never admitted was that the "mirror" was badly distorted, like those at amusement parks, and reflected not the population of the 1960s but that recorded in the 1920 census. But most in Congress simply acquiesced. The final passage of the bill in the Senate was by voice vote, while in the House it was approved overwhelmingly, 326 to 69.
Many scholars have characterized the 1965 act as a prime example of "unintended consequences," and it is clear that even its most influential advocate, President Johnson, seems not to have understood what its effects would be. In the signing ceremony staged on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, Johnson remarked: "This bill that we sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives, or really add importantly to our wealth or our power." The president was not indulging in un-characteristic understatement. He and his advisers saw the 1965 act as redressing injuries done in 1924 and 1952, what he called the wrong done to those "from southern and eastern Europe."
In practice the law has worked quite differently from the ways in which any of its sponsors expected. Looking backward and expecting the future to resemble the past, they ignored the evidence of data available to them. As Table 1 shows, growing numbers of Latin Americans and Asians had been coming to the United States since World War II, and once such persons had permanent resident status, a whole cohort of relatives became eligible to enter the country as second preference immigrants. And as soon as these immigrants became U.S. citizens, as unprecedented numbers of them did in the minimum five-year waiting period, more persons became eligible as first, fourth, and fifth preference immigrants, while others could enter exempt from numerical preference. After the 1965 act went into effect, this kind of chain migration, in which related immigrants follow one another as links in a chain, accounted for a preponderance of all nonrefugee migration.
Perhaps the most misleading aspect of the law involves the presumed twenty thousand cap on entries from any one nation. That cap, which never affected Western Hemisphere nations, applies only to those entering from the Eastern Hemisphere who are subject to "numerical limitation." In 1985, for example, forty-eight thousand Filipinos and thirty-five thousand Koreans entered legally, to list only the two largest national groups from the Eastern Hemisphere entering in that year. The twenty thousand cap has been chimerical.
If scholars ignored or downplayed the 1965 law for a long time, by the 1980s, when immigration had become a major issue in American public life, many of the discussions, whether in blame or praise, overstated its influence. For example, a 1989 Rand study reported: "After a lull lasting more than 40 years, immigration to the United States began to increase considerably in the late 1960s after the passage of the 1965 Act." The two great changes that took place in American immigration in the second half of the twentieth century—the steady increase in the number of immigrants and the steady reduction of the once dominant share taken by European immigrants—were clearly in evidence before the enactment of the new law in October 1965, as One can only speculate whether or not, had Congress understood what the results of its actions would be, the 1965 act would have been passed in anything like the form that it finally assumed. Most of the few scholars who have addressed this question have answered it in the negative.
Barkan, Elliott R. "Whom Shall We Integrate? A Comparative Analysis of the Immigration and Naturalization Trends of Asians before and after the 1965 Immigration Act (1951–1978)." Journal of American Ethnic History 1, no. 3 (Fall 1983): 29–57. Documents naturalization as a factor in chain migration.
Bean, Frank D., Georges Vernez, and Charles B. Keely. Opening and Closing the Doors: Evaluating Immigration Reform and Control. Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand, 1989. A social science study.
Gillon, Steven M. "That's Not What We Meant to Do": Reform and Its Unintended Consequences in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Norton, 2000. Chapter 4 deals with the 1965 Immigration Act.
Kennedy, Edward M. "The Immigration Act of 1965." Annals 367 (September 1966): 137–149. A contemporary account by a leading advocate of immigration reform.
Reimers, David M. Still the Golden Door: The Third World Comes to America. 2d ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. The best account of post–World War II immigration.
National Origins: Our New Immigration Formula (1924)The American Review of Reviews (No. LXX, No. 3) September 1924 George Wheeler Hinman, Jr.
When the United States first undertook to curtail the flow of immigration, the problem of finding a reasonable formula upon which to base the fair distribution of quotas among the various nationalities affected immediately presented itself. The problem was a most troublesome one, complicated by political considerations at home and by diplomatic difficulties abroad.
Assuming the actual curtailment of immigration to be desirable, there still remained to be passed upon several important matters. Nationally speaking, the people of the United States were entitled to first consideration. Hence, it was essential that any basis of restriction should be one which would conserve their interests. There was, in addition, the desire to afford fair treatment to the peoples of other nations, hundreds of thousands of whom had left their home lands to begin their lives again in the New World. Those seeking asylum from political or religious persecution had traditionally found in the United States a haven of refuge.
Emergency Law of 1921
The first actual move to curtail immigration numerically was the emergency quota law of May 19, 1921, restricting the admission of aliens in any year to 3 per cent of the number of foreign-born persons of each nationality residing in the United States as shown by the census of 1910. In other words, there being approximately 1,401,900 persons of Italian birth resident in the United States according to the census of 1910, Italy was entitled to send 3 per cent of that figure, or 42,057 immigrants, to the United States each year.
It is difficult to justify this formula for restriction upon any basis save that of sheer expediency. There is no particular reason why the number of foreign-born of any one nationality should determine how many more that nation might send to Americas shores. The argument that, because so many had come in recent years, a proportionate number should be admitted in future years, is too far-fetched to be worthy of serious consideration. The history of American immigration is a story of successive waves from various sections of the Old World.
Early Predominance of Northern European Stocks
During the first two centuries and a half following the discovery of America, only 80,000 immigrants entered the area which is now part of the United States. At the close of these 250 years, these immigrants had grown by natural processes until the population of the area approximated 1,000,000 persons. Half a century later, the first census, that of 1790, showed the population of the United States to be almost 4,000,000, practically all of whom were descendants of the original 80,000. Excepting a small sprinkling of descendants of immigrants from France, Spain, Holland, and the Rhenish provinces of Germany, the population of 1790 was British and Irish.
The first American immigration law was enacted in 1820. No official record of immigration was kept by the national government prior to that date. From the best available sources, however, it has been estimated that approximately 300,000 immigrants entered the United States between 1783, the date of the Treaty with Great Britain acknowledging American independence, and 1820. Practically every one of the 300,000 came from the nations of northern and western Europe.
In all, there have been five great waves of immigration in American history. The number of immigrants entering the United States each year did not pass the 100,000 mark until 1842, when the total reached 104,565. The immigration wave then rose steadily until it reached its crest of 427,833 in 1854. This first wave was chiefly British in origin, although political disturbances in Germany drove a large number from that area of Europe to the United States. Almost all the immigrants came from the nations of northern and western Europe.
Rise of Southern and Eastern Europe as Immigration Factors
After 1854, the tide receded, but a second wave began sweeping in during the Civil War and rose to a crest of 459,803 in 1873. This wave, too, was mainly British and German, plus a touch of Scandinavian. For the fist time, moreover, there was a noticeable trace of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. Numerically, they were negligible, crossing the 10,000 mark for the first time in 1871. The nations of northern and western Europe were still furnishing the great bulk of immigration.
The third wave began in 1880 and swept quickly to a high mark of 788,992 in 1882. Secondary crests in the same general movement were reached in 1888 and 1892. Although the immigrants of northern and western Europe still dominated, there was a most significant and insistent increase in the flow from the southern and eastern nations. In 1882, they were only 11 per cent of the total, in 1888, 26 per cent, and in 1892, 47 per cent. For the first time, Italy, Russia, Poland and Austria-Hungary were furnishing a considerable proportion of the annual immigration. The influx from Russia and Poland brought many immigrants of the Hebrew race.
Although the third wave definitely receded after 1892, the immigration from southern and eastern Europe continued to occupy its position of prominence. Finally, in 1896, with a percentage of 57 of the total immigration, it passed numerically the influx from the nations of northern and western Europe. From that time until the operation of the quota law of 1921, except for the World War years, the nations of southern and eastern Europe continued to furnish more than half, and in some years more than three-fourths, the total.
In the fourth immigration wave, with the record crest of 1,285,349 in 1907 and secondary crests in 1910 and 1914, the few immigrants from northern and western Europe were completely submerged in the flood from Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. Of the record influx in 1907, 979,661, or more than three-fourths, came from the nations of southern and eastern Europe. For each succeeding year until the outbreak of the World War called a halt, the immigration from these nations exceeded two-thirds of the total. In 1914, it again crossed the three-fourths mark in a total immigration of 1,218,480, only a few thousand below the record figure of 1907. From all indications, only the declarations of war in August, 1914, prevented the year 1915 from setting a new record.
The World War checked the flow of immigration from Europe, which fell from above the million mark in 1914 to less than 25,000 in 1919, or only 18 per cent of the total for that year. The year 1920, however, started the fifth wave from Europe. The total for the year was 430,001, of which two-fifths came from southern and eastern Europe, one-fifth from northern and western Europe, and the remaining two-fifths principally from other countries of North and South America. The wave continued to rise; reaching 805,228 in 1921. Of this total, more than two-thirds came from southern and eastern Europe. Then the emergency quota law of May, 1921, called a halt.
Emergency Quota Worked Against Northern Nationalities
There was no denying that this emergency act operated in favor of those nationalities which of later years had furnished the bulk of American immigration. For fourteen years prior to the census of 1910, these later arrivals were bound to count heavily against the nations which had sent their immigrants to American shores in the earlier years. So it came about quite naturally that those nations in which had originated nearly four-fifths of the white population of the United States were assigned barely one-half of the total immigration quota.
General recognition was given the fact that the law of 1921 was only a makeshift measure designed to meet an emergency. There still remained unsolved the problem of working out a formula for the curtailment of immigration which would serve the interests of the American people and at the same time do justice to the peoples of other nations. In itself, the problem was sufficiently difficult, but this difficulty was greatly aggravated by national and racial controversies. The original sources of American immigration were the nations of northern and western Europe. The newer sources were the nations of southern and eastern Europe. This fact gave rise to the most involved disputes over the relative merits of races and nationalities. Physical, mental and moral characteristics were debated with some bitterness. Records of antiquity were ransacked by eager scholars to prove this or that doctrine of racial superiority or to disprove a doctrine advanced by somebody else. Much was written, and more was said; and but little of either had any real bearing upon the true issue involved in the search for a formula which would justly curtail American immigration.
Through all the storm of national and racial controversy, the search for an American immigration formula went painstakingly on. The crisis of 1921, with 5,000,000 unemployed in the United States and immigrants entering at the rate of almost 1,000,000 a year, crystallized the belief that the time had come to check the unlimited flow of aliens from abroad. The law of 1921, while it met the emergency, failed to provide a permanently satisfactory means for immigration control. There could be no justification for basing alien quotas on foreign born inhabitants of the United States and at the same time utterly ignoring the native-born. There was, too, a growing feeling that the law of 1921 admitted an excessive number of immigrants.
Recognizing Native-Born of Foreign Origin
All efforts were concentrated upon the task of reaching a solution which, while curtailing the flow of immigration, would at the same time recognize the claims of the native-born as well as those of the foreign-born residing within the United Sates. In other words, the purpose was to grant recognition to the descendants of those immigrants who had come to the United States in the earlier years and so no longer figured prominently in the compilations of the foreign-born.
The census of 1920 indicated that, of the white population of the United States, approximately 85 per cent had originated in northern and western Europe and 15 per cent in southern and eastern Europe. This was in marked contrast to the European immigration quotas of 1921, which, based upon the foreign-born as shown by the census of 1910, gave 55 per cent to northern and western and 45 per cent to southern and eastern Europe. In brief, if the origin of the native-born as well as of the foreign-born were to be considered, the quota of southern and eastern Europe would have to be divided by three, and that of northern and western Europe increased by nearly one-half. Any such change, so far as southern and eastern Europe was concerned, would be made more drastic as the total of all quotas was reduced. And yet, assuming that immigration should be curtailed on a basis of even-handed justice to all those who resided within the United States, it was hard to challenge the fairness of a principle which sought to recognize the rights of both the native and the foreign-born.
So the demand grew for the preparation of an immigration formula based upon the national origins of the American people as shown by the best available records, the census of 1920. There were numerous obstacles to the meeting of that demand. It would be no simple task to determine even with approximate accuracy the national origins of 95,000,000 persons, the white population of the United States. It was comparatively easy to estimate that approximately 85 per cent of that white population had come from the countries of northern and western Europe, but it was another matter to distribute that 85 per cent upon the face of the changing map of the Old World. And, as for the 15 per cent from southern and eastern Europe, the task was just that much more difficult.
Enemies of the principle assailed the idea of a national origins formula as hopelessly unworkable. It was unthinkable, they argued, that any calculator could distribute the quotas with any degree of accuracy. So strong was the opposition that many supporters of the national origins idea advocated the achievement of approximately the same general result by the building of quotas upon the basis of the foreign-born as shown by the census of 1890. This, of course, was a purely arbitrary method designed to restore the balance between the nations of northern and western Europe on the one hand and those of southern and eastern Europe on the other. Meantime, the opponents of the national origins idea were fighting bitterly to retain the census of 1910 as the basis of calculations.
A Basis Found in "National Origins"
The outcome of the struggle was a complete victory for both the national origins formula and the census of 1890, the latter as a stop-gap to control during the years prior to July 1, 1927 when the former becomes operative. During each of the years 1925, 1926, and 1927, quotas are to be assigned on the basis of 2 per cent of the foreign-born of the various nationalities as shown by the census of 1890. The total of these quotas will approximate 162,000, as against 358,000 under the emergency quota law of 1921. During those same three years, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Labor, jointly, are to work out a plan for admitting to the United States annually 150,000 immigrants with quotas distributed upon the basis of the national origins of the white inhabitants of the United States as shown by the census of 1920.
For example, approximately three-fifths of the white population of the United States originated in Great Britain and Ireland. Accordingly, the annual quota for Great Britain and Ireland for 1928 - the governmental fiscal and statistical year ends on June 30 of the calendar year - will approximate three-fifths of 150,000, or 90,000 immigrants. There is a saving clause under which no national quota for admissible immigrants may be less than 100. On the strict national origins basis, for instance, the Egyptian quota would be only three. The quota restriction does not apply to Canada, Newfoundland, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the independent nations of Central and South America. In accordance with the traditional spirit of Pan-Americanism, there is no restriction upon these, if they meet the general requirements. On the other hand, no quotas are given those nationalities ineligible to American citizenship.
The national origins formula works a complete change in the distribution of immigration quotas. Of the total white population of the United States in 1910, approximately 12,000,000 were of foreign birth. Under the quota law of 1921, immigrants were admitted in quotas distributed among the nations in accordance with the origins of these 12,000,000. The national origins formula, however, takes into account not only these foreign-born, but also the native-born; and the immigration quotas are distributed in accordance with the origins of all the 95,000,000 white residents of the United States. In a typical State on the Atlantic seaboard, for instance, 27 per cent of the population is of foreign birth. Under the law of 1921, the remaining 73 per cent, the native born, had no voice in determining who should be admitted to the United States, for quotas were apportioned solely on the basis of the 27 per cent minority. Under the national origins formula, the entire 100 per cent receive equal consideration within the total of authorized immigration.
Selection at the Source
In addition to establishing a new basis for immigration restriction, the Act of May, 1924, also provides for regulating admissions by a system of immigration visas administered by the American consular service abroad. The new system goes as far as national sovereignty will permit in selecting American immigration at the source. Before any immigrant sails for the United States, he receives from the local American consul an immigration visa, to obtain he must answer certain questions bearing upon his admissibility. Unless his national quota is unfilled and unless he appears otherwise qualified for admission to the United States, he is denied the visa. In past years, tens of thousands of persons have reached American ports only to be denied admission, usually for reasons that could have been ascertained in their native lands. The system of immigration visas operates to reject the inadmissible alien before he leaves his native land.
How the New Law Will Work
A few outstanding cases will suffice to show the drastic effect of the application of the national origins idea to American immigration. Under the emergency law of 1921, the Italian quota was 42,057. Under the national origins formula, it will approximate 5,800, less than one-seventh of the former quota, and during the three years under the census of 1890, it will be 3,845, less than one-tenth. Czechoslovakia drops from 14,357 under the law of 1921 to 3,073 under the census of 1890, and again to about 1,300 under the national origins formula. Russia was allowed 24,405 by the law of 1921. She will have only 2,248 each year under the census of 1890 and about 4,000 under the national origins formula. Poland falls from 30,979 to 5,982 under the census of 1890 and finally to approximately 4,500 on the basis of national origins.
The case of Great Britain and Ireland presents the other side of the picture. Their quota under the law of 1921 was 77,342. It is cut to 62,574 during each of the three years on the basis of the census of 1890, but the national origins formula is expected to raise above the 90,000 mark. When it is recalled that about 45,000,000 of the American people today are descendants of Revolutionary War stock, the reason for this increase is not difficult to understand.
Next to Great Britain and Ireland comes Germany. The German quota under the law of 1921 was 67,607. It drops to 51,227 under the census of 1890, and then is cut to about 22,000 by the national origins formula. Only the British-Irish and the German quotas will exceed the 6,000 mark under the national origins formula. Together, they will form about three-fourths of the 150,000 immigration allowance granted all quota nationalities. Under the law of 1921, they composed barely two-fifths of the 358,000 total.
A National Immigration Policy Outlined
Although the cases of individual nations are of interest, the real importance of the national origins formula lies in its significance as a definite phase in the development of an American immigration policy. The adoption of the formula represents the premise that the time has come for the United States to erect a barrier against the flow of immigration from foreign lands. The minor premise is that the barrier shall be one which, however high it is raised, will admit each year a miniature replica of the American people as they are today.
The significance of the major premise can hardly be overemphasized. True, the quota law of 1921 provided for the numerical restriction of alien admissions; but the act itself was purely a temporary expedient to meet a critical situation, and effective for only one year. During that year, attempts were made to draft substitute immigration legislation of a more or less temporary character, and, when these attempts failed, the law of 1921 was continued in operation for another two years, still as an emergency measure.
There is nothing temporary, however, in the wording of the new immigration law adopting the national origins formula for immigration control. Debates on the floors of Congress indicated plainly that the legislators felt they were establishing a permanent immigration policy to be followed for many years to come. With the exception of a comparatively few representatives from urban centers containing large settlements of the foreign-born, both the Senate and the House of Representatives were practically unanimous in endorsing he principle of numerical restriction.
Total of Admissions Fixed by Congress
The use of the national origins formula greatly simplifies the problem of numerical control. There is no longer the need for involved calculations with percentages and census statistics in order to determine just how many immigrants would be admitted to the United States under a certain scheme. The primary step in the use of the national origins formula is the fixing of a maximum total of admissions by Congress. In the present law, the annual total under the formula is fixed at 150,000, but, while the principle of restriction is definitely established, the total of authorized admissions may be changed at will. By 1928 for example, conditions may be such that Congress will feel warranted in authorizing a total of 300,000 quota immigrants annually. Two years later, perhaps, it may seem advisable to cut the total admission to 50,000. Congress will have only to survey conditions and then pass a simple resolution directing that for a stated period a stated total of quota immigrants shall be admitted annually to the United States.
Quotas National Rather Than Racial
Under the national origins formula, the distribution of this immigration total among the various quota classifications becomes merely an administrative function of the Executive Branch of the Government. Each nation already having contributed a certain percentage of the American people will be allotted a corresponding percentage of the immigration total as its quota. In other words, the American people are taken as they stand, and to them each year is added, in whatever number Congress may direct, an installment of European immigration reproducing in miniature the American composite.
All the quotas are national, not racial. No attempt is made to discriminate between the various racial groups within any nation. Each nation is allowed a fixed quota covering all who reside within its jurisdiction. Under the emergency law of 1921, for example, the quota for Turkey was 2,654 each year. In a typical year, only 158 alien admissions charged against the Turkish quota were actually Turks. There were, on the other hand, 658 Armenians, 631 Syrians, and 417 Hebrews. Indeed, more Greeks than Turks entered the United States under the Turkish quota during that year. The point was that all came from territory under the jurisdiction of the Turkish Government. Similar conditions prevail under the national origins formula, for the United States cannot presume to discriminate between the various peoples within the boundaries of a sovereign nation.
The underlying principle of the national origins formula is that the people of the United States today have a vested and equal right to say who shall join them. While the emergency law of 1921 permitted the foreign-born residents of the United States to determine the distribution of immigration quotas, the national origins formula gives equal voice to native-born and foreign-born alike. The formula seeks to avoid the charge of discrimination by treating all nationalities in proportion as they have contributed to the upbuilding of the American Republic.
The United States has departed definitely from the policy of encouraging white immigration from practically all sources, regardless of origin. Instead, there has been adopted the policy of stringent numerical restriction and the admission of aliens in proportion as the various nations of the Old World are represented in the existing make-up of the American people. The application of this new policy rests with the national origins formula, the adoption of which marked the most significant step in the direction of immigration control taken in three centuries of American history.