Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 Published: April 6, 2012

Strongly supported by President Gerald R. Ford and opposed by those who feared an influx of Southeast Asian refugees after the end of the conflict in Vietnam

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 Published: March 7, 2012

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was designed to balance public concerns about increasing illegal immigration with business’s need for cheap labor and the need to address issues of racial and ethnic discrimination.

Immigration law Published: March 7, 2012

The gatekeeper of the borders of the United States, federal immigration law determines who may enter the country, how long they may stay, their status, their rights and duties while in the United States, and how they may become resident aliens or American citizens.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 Published: March 7, 2012

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965This first major change in U.S. quota policy greatly altered the ethnic makeup of immigrants entering the United States during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and prompted a massive increase in total immigration.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 Published: February 14, 2012

This federal law upheld the national origins quota system established by the Immigration Act of 1924, which gave preference to individuals of northern and western European lineage.

Immigration Act of 1990 Published: February 14, 2012

This legislation has been seen as a return to the pre-1920’s open door immigration policy of the United States.

Immigration Act of 1943 Published: February 14, 2012

Immigration Act of 1943At the height of World War II, when the United States needed to promote goodwill with China, Congress repealed an 1882 federal immigration statute restricting all Chinese from entering the country and considerably eased the process of naturalization for those Chinese already residing in America.

Immigration Act of 1924 Published: February 14, 2012

Immigration Act of 1924The act represented the first major attempt to restrict immigration into the United States.

Immigration Act of 1921 Published: February 14, 2012

The first federal law in U.S. history to limit the immigration of Europeans, the Immigration Act of 1921 reflected the growing American fear that people from southern and eastern European countries not only did not adapt well into American society but also threatened its very existence.

Immigration Act of 1917 Published: February 14, 2012

Immigration Act of 1917The Immigration Act of 1917 was the first federal law to impose a general restriction on immigration in the form of a literacy test.

Immigration Act of 1907 Published: February 14, 2012

This law created the Dillingham Commission to collect data used in future immigration laws, further narrowed Asian immigration, limited Muslim immigration, and expanded the definition of undesirable women immigrants.

Immigration Act of 1903 Published: January 30, 2012

The Immigration Act of 1903 expanded the federal government’s power to regulate immigration.

Immigration Act of 1891 Published: January 30, 2012

Beginning in 1882, responsibility for administering U.S. immigration law, excluding the Chinese exclusion law, rested with the individual states.

Immigration Act of 1882 Published: January 30, 2012

Setting the basic course of United States immigration law and policy, the Immigration Act of 1882 established categories of foreigners deemed “undesirable” for entry and gave the U.S. secretary of the treasury authority over immigration enforcement.

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 Published: January 30, 2012

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996The Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act, or IIRIRA, was enacted to prevent the flow of undocumented aliens into the United States.

Homestead Act of 1862 Published: January 16, 2012

The Homestead Act accelerated settlement of western lands in the United States. Initiated in response to pressure for the disposition of public lands, the act transferred ownership of property to U.S. citizens or immigrants willing to establish residence on the land and to make improvements and cultivate crops.

Geary Act of 1892 Published: December 12, 2011

Enacted to reinforce and extend provisions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Geary Act prevented further immigration from China and required established Chinese residents of the United States to carry certificates of residence.

Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935 Published: November 28, 2011

This federal law provided free transportation for Filipino residents of the continental United States who wished to return home but could not afford to do so.

Fiancées Act of 1946 Published: November 28, 2011

An extension of another piece of post-World War II legislation, the War Brides Act of 1945, the Fiancées Act granted the fiancés of American servicemen a special exemption from previously established immigration quotas that allowed them to enter the United States.

Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917-1918 Published: October 18, 2011

Enacted soon after the United States entered World War I in 1917, the Espionage Act prohibited individuals from expressing or publishing opinions that would interfere with the U.S. military’s efforts to defeat Germany and its allies.

Displaced Persons Act of 1948 Published: October 4, 2011

Under this law, refugees became for the first time a major factor in U.S. immigration, and the administration of this law would influence subsequent policies on refugees, notably those from communist countries, including Hungary, Cuba, and Vietnam.

Dillingham Commission Published: October 4, 2011

The forty-one volumes of statistical material on immigration eventually published by the Dillingham Commission contained a wealth of information that provided support for limiting immigration, thereby helping lead to passage of the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924.

U.S. Constitution Published: September 27, 2011

As the fundamental law of the United States, the U.S. Constitution empowers the U.S. Congress to pass federal immigration and citizenship laws providing such laws do not violate the provisions of the Constitution itself, particularly those included in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.

U.S. Congress Published: September 27, 2011

Since 1875, Congress has played the major role in determining U.S. immigration law and policy.

Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 Published: September 22, 2011

The passage of this law indicated that U.S. immigration policies could be influenced by domestic political developments of other countries.

 

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