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A history of the immigration laws of the united states

How U.S. immigration laws and rules have changed through history

Amends naturalization requirements to extend eligibility to individuals of African nativity or descent. Any Chinese immigrant who resided in the U. The 1892 Geary Act extended this law for an additional 10 years and required that Chinese nationals obtain identification papers. Permitted the deportation of any unauthorized immigrants or those who could be excluded from migration based on previous legislation.

Established a federal Bureau of Immigration. It is the first U. Required immigrants over the age of 16 to demonstrate basic reading ability in any language. Immigration from Asian countries continued to be barred. Nationality quotas did not apply to countries in the Western Hemisphere, government officials or temporary visitors. Under this law, total annual immigration was capped at 350,000.

  • The Eastern Hemisphere was granted 170,000 of the total visas each year with a 20,000 cap per country;
  • Click to see additional references In addition to the following references, legislation text was used to develop the timeline.

Border Patrol as a federal law enforcement agency to combat illegal immigration and smuggling along the borders between inspection stations. As a result, the law favored migration from northern and western European countries with longer histories of migration to the U. Immigration from Asian countries continued to be barred, and the law added a formal restriction on Japanese immigration.

Denied entry to the U. Required employers to pay a wage equal to that paid to U. In effect until 1964.

In contrast to other quotas, which are based on country of citizenship, the quota for Chinese was based on ancestry. Chinese residents were also eligible to naturalize. As a result, most spots were for immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.

Under this law, political activities, ideology and mental health, among other criteria, served as a basis for exclusion and deportation. This law also created quota preferences for skilled immigrants and family reunification. Immigrants from the Western Hemisphere were exempt from the preference system until 1976. No visa cap was placed on the number of immediate family members of U. The Eastern Hemisphere was granted 170,000 of the total visas each year with a 20,000 cap per country.

Beginning in 1968, the Western Hemisphere was given 120,000 visas annually with no specific country limits. This act extended the refugee delineation to include those fleeing Cambodia and Vietnam and designated funds for the relocation and resettlement of refugees.

In 1976, it was amended to include Laotian refugees. This mostly affected Mexico at the time since it was the only Western Hemisphere country that substantially exceeded 20,000 visas annually. In 1978, an amendment to the law established a worldwide limit of 290,000 visas annually. This removed the prior Eastern and Western hemisphere caps. Removes refugees from the immigration preference system, expanding the annual admission for refugees.

The removal of refugees from the immigration preference system reduced the annual visa allocation to 270,000. Subsequent executive action and legislation for refugees included deportation relief and admission based on region or nationality.

Examples include the George H. Creates the H-2A visa for temporary, seasonal agricultural workers. Imposes sanctions on employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers and increases border enforcement.

In 1987, the Reagan administration decided that minor children of parents who were legalized under the 1986 law should be protected from deportation.

In 1990, the George H. Bush administration decided that all spouses and unmarried children of people who were legalized under the 1986 law could apply for permission to remain in the country and receive work permits. This policy was formalized in the Immigration Act of 1990.

It also creates H-1B visas for highly skilled temporary workers and H-2B for seasonal, non-agricultural workers and revises the grounds for exclusion and deportation, particularly those based on political and ideological grounds.

Establishes or revises measures for worksite enforcement, to remove criminal and other deportable aliens and to tighten admissions eligibility requirements.

  • The act created a uniform rule of naturalization and a residency requirement for new citizenship applicants;
  • Major legislation addressing these concerns passed the Senate and was introduced in the House in the 100th Congress 1987 to 1988;
  • Required that sponsors of immigrants have income at least 25 percent above the poverty level and made affidavits of support by the sponsors legally binding.

Expands restrictions laid out in the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act on access to means-tested public assistance programs for new legal permanent residents and unauthorized immigrants. This executive action is on hold as a state challenge works its way through the courts. Click to see additional references In addition to the following references, legislation text was used to develop the timeline.