To better understand how we ended up with the current illegal alien crisis we have, it’s important to understand the history of immigration to the United States.
And there was, in fact, immigration control between 1607 and 1882, but prior to 1875 it was a state level function. For example, in the 1820s, several states had inspection and bond posting schemes to deter paupers from entering and becoming a public charge.
The first immigration crisis in American history happened to the pilgrims. The book The First Universal Nation, says that immigration had always been unpopular, and that “One gets the feeling that when the folks on the Mayflower went out to watch the next boats come in, they muttered to one another, ‘There goes the neighborhood.’” According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, the second ship so taxed the resources of the infant colony that the Pilgrims almost starved. “During the first winter of the colony, about half of the settlers died from scurvy and exposure… A little corn was raised in 1621, and in October of that year the settlers celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day. However, the arrival of more colonists necessitated half rations, and it was several years before the threat of famine passed.” Probably one of the things the people at the First Thanksgiving were thankful for was the traditional grace or toast “One between four of us, Thank God there’s no more of us.”
After certain states passed immigration laws following the Civil War, the Supreme Court in 1875 declared the regulation of immigration a federal responsibility. The Immigration Service was established in 1891 to deal with the tremendous increase in immigration which started in 1880.
The last great wave of immigrants came here between 1880 and 1920. By this time, the American welfare state had been created and immigrants could get welfare. Prior to that, if immigrants failed in the workplace, they had to return home. Today approximately 90% of legal immigrants stay, whereas it used to be about 40%.
The United States didn’t require passports until 1918.
Congress enacted immigration quotas in the 1920s, with the national-origins quota system, passed in 1921 and revised in 1924. Immigration was limited by assigning each nationality a quota based on its representation in past U.S. census figures. Also in 1924, Congress created the U.S. Border Patrol within the Immigration Service.
The 1924 Immigration Act did indeed profoundly affect the demographic and political character of the nation, by creating—with some later assistance from Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower—a forty-year immigration moratorium in which was forged the strongest, happiest, most prosperous, and most culturally vibrant nation the world has ever seen.
Immigration remained relatively low during the 20 years following World War II, because the 1920s national-origins system remained in place after Congress re-codified and combined all previous immigration and naturalization law into the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. American agriculture continued to import seasonal labor from Mexico, as they had during the war, under a 1951 formal agreement between the United States and Mexico that made the Bracero Program permanent.
In 1965, Congress replaced the national origins system with a preference system designed to unite immigrant families and attract skilled immigrants to the United States. The family unification provision includes brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Should family unification include all living family members as it does now, or just spouse and minor children of the immigrant, if there are any?
The 1965 Immigration Act replaced the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act, which was an anti-Communist bill. The breakdown of the McCarran-Walter Act was a major objective of the Communists, as Congress heard in testimony in 1965. This change to national policy responded to changes in the sources of immigration since 1924.
The majority of applicants for immigration visas now came from Asia and Latin America rather than Europe. Mexico is a much more socialist country than the United States, and more immigration will tend to make the U.S. more socialist. A perfect example of this is President Obama. Elected with the votes of many Hispanic legal immigrants, he implemented socialized medicine in America—which is also, contrary to advertisement, being provided to immigrants.
Legal immigration alone in the 1990s likely matched or exceeded the previous historical peak decade of 1901-1910, when 8.8 million legal immigrants were admitted. Adding the settlement of illegal aliens makes the 1990s without doubt the period of greatest immigration in America’s history.