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

Published: 2021-07-07 00:12:33
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The United States laws and regulations are very complicated, and there is confusion on how they work. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), enacted in 1952, is a body that governs the immigration policies. It also gives the annual worldwide limits of the permanent immigrants stipulating the exceptions. The Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are the foreigners who are allowed to apply for the jobs under some restrictions in the U.S. Every year; the U.S. will enable noncitizens in the States on a temporary basis. Each year, the Congress and the President admit a separate number of refugees. Immigration to the U.S. is determined on certain principles (Cohn, 2018). However, there are some issues which seem to be contradicting more so when it comes to fraudulent immigrants. The term paper here reviews the article ‘How U.S. immigration laws and rules have changed through history.’ The article discusses how the laws and the regulations have been shaped to handle the refugees and the immigrants through the history.According to the article, the US embarked on regulating immigration soon after independence, which has been reflected in politics and the flows of the times. Earlier legislations-imposed limits to favor the Europeans while the actions by the president Obama shaped the concerns of the refugees and the immigrants. For instance, the changes of 1965 created a system to favor family reunifications and skilled immigrants instead of the country quotas. The law enacted the first limitations on immigration from the Western hemisphere. Before then, immigration had been allowed with no restrictions. The law changes in 1990 provided ‘temporary protective status’ to shield the immigrants from being deported to nations facing natural calamities, conflicts, and another extraordinary status.According to this research, one of the principles governing the immigration policies is the family unification. The family-based immigration categories allow the U.S. citizens and the LPRs to let some family members in the country (Cohn, 2018). These immigrants are allowed in as immediate relatives of the States or via the family preference systems. These immigrants should meet some standards of eligibility, ages, and financial requirements. The immediate relatives include the spouses, unmarried minors (below 21 years), and the parents of the U.S. citizens. Under the preference system, there is a limited number of visas availed in a year. To balance the number of immigrants on a family tree, the Congress has put in place a system to calculate the number of family members’ visas in a particular year. Worldwide, the family preference system allocates 480,000 minus the permits issued to immediate families and the parolees in a year (Cohn, 2018). To be admitted via the family-based immigration systems, a U.S. citizen or the LPR should petition for the relatives, provide their legitimate relationship, meet the minimum financial requirements, and sign the affidavits for taking responsibilities.The Naturalization Act excludes the non-white people on the grounds of the length of residence in the country. The requirements include a two-year residency, ‘good moral character,’ and the applicants to be a ‘free white person.’ In 2006, the Congress enacted a law to impose sanctions on employers who recruited illegal immigrants due to the increase in terrorism and unauthorized immigration. The measures were meant to control the U.S. borders, prioritize the enforcement of the laws on recruiting immigrants, and tighten the admission eligibilities (Rhodes, et al., 2015). In 2012, the then President Obama, executively allowed young adults who were illegally in the state to apply for deportation relief and work permits. In 2014, he extended the program to provide similar benefits to the unauthorized immigrant’s parents of the United States born children.There has been a heated debate on whether the children of the illegal immigrants should be given legal citizenships in the United States. The 14th amendment of the States’ constitution stipulates that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the U.S. and the State wherein they reside.” However, the opponents of the birthright citizenship contend that the section is not transparent since it does not specify whether the babies born to the parents in the U.S. unlawfully are automatic citizens. The proponents hold on that, overturning the 14th amendment will raise the number of the illegal immigrants with each child born in the U.S.The immigration laws entail the section of protection of refugees, asylees, and vulnerable populates. There is a legal admission for the people who flee persecution or are not in a position to go back to their home country due to life threats (Cohn, 2018). These are allowed to apply for admissions from outside the US, generally from the ‘transition country’ that is not their home state. The admittance of these refugees turns on numerous factors like the extent of the risks they may encounter, membership in a group, and whether or not they got relatives in the U.S., These are designated each year by the President of the U.S. and the Congress who determine the numerical ceiling. These are broken down as per a region globally.The Congress mandated in 2014 that the ICE maintains about 34,000 immigration detention beds each day (Bhachu, 2017). Obama’s government started providing health care to the unauthorized children. The immigrants, in the recent years, have been issued with a driving license, identification cards, and consular IDs. They started integrating them to economic and local development potentials via the program, Welcoming America.The president, Donald Trump has in the past advocated for a ‘total and complete shutdown’ the Muslims from entering the country, a statement which outraged many people. His arguments were based on the fact that the government does not have adequate information about who joins the US through the immigration systems. The discussion was sparked by the attack carried out in California. He advocated for a full screening of the immigrants to stop potential terrorists (Hollifield, Martin, & Orrenius, 2014). He has also put the border patrol to enumerate the number of people entering the US. The disputable wall at the US-Mexico border is also another measure to control the crossing of the boundaries.The Diversity Visa (DV) Program for the Fiscal year 2017 availed 50,000 diversity visas at no cost (American Immigration Council, 2018). The selected applicants should meet the simple, but stringent eligibility requirements to succeed in obtaining the DVs. These DVs are spread to six regions with each nation getting at most seven percent of the availed DVs in a year. The Trump’s administration is tightening the standards for refugees and asylums. It advocates for narrow and legalistic applications for refugee, asylum, and parole rules, which jeopardizes those seeking asylum.ConclusionImmigration and Naturalization Act (INA) limits the number of immigrants to the United States. It places quotas restricting to seven percent of the total number of immigrants in the US in a year. The former presidents of the United States had made it easier for the immigrants to access the United States than it is with the Trump’s government. Certain individuals will not be allowed in the US even though they meet the minimum requirements. They will not be eligible to migrate via any legitimate channels. In future, many unaccompanied children may be subjected to expedition and detention instead of being offered shelters or reuniting with the family members in the US.ReferencesAmerican Immigration Council. (2018). How the United States Immigration System Works. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].Bhachu, P. (Ed.). (2017). Immigration and entrepreneurship: culture, capital, and ethnic networks. Routledge.Cohn, D. (2018). How U.S. immigration laws and rules have changed through history. [online] Pew Research Center. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].Hollifield, J., Martin, P. L., & Orrenius, P. (Eds.). (2014). Controlling immigration: A global perspective. Stanford University Press.Rhodes, S. D., Mann, L., Simán, F. M., Song, E., Alonzo, J., Downs, M., … & Reboussin, B. A. (2015). The impact of local immigration enforcement policies on the health of immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 105(2), 329-337.

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