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Issue of Immigration and the United States Government’s Response to These Tensions

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Immigration in the United States is a complex demographic activity that has been a major contribution to population growth and cultural change throughout much of the nation’s history. The many aspects of immigration have controversy in economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, crime, and even voting behavior. Congress has passed many laws that have to do with immigrants especially in the 19th century such as the Naturalization Act of 1870, and the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, or even the Immigration Act of 1903 all to insure specific laws and boundaries set on immigrants. The life of immigrants has been drastically changed throughout the years of 1880-1925 through aspects such as immigrants taking non-immigrants wages and jobs, the filtration process of immigrants into the United States, and lastly, the foreign policies of the immigrants and their allowance into the nation.

Much of the controversy that was brought up during this time period was based on the fact that immigrants were coming over and taking over many jobs of the non-immigrants. Many Americans saw it unfair that the immigrants were gaining the wages that the Americans thought they deserved. They didn’t find it fair that the immigrants just marched into America and demanded job opportunities, but that was what America was known for. Many groups of people were against the job openings for immigrants especially the National People’s Party (Document C), who spoke out against the unfair laws, and demanded an end to any form of emigration.

There were also many other groups of people that opposed the way the immigrants decided to live their lives, because most of the workers would just go over to the United States take jobs, earn money, and then return to their birth place. Many people such as James Bryce complain that it is unfair that one can come over and take non-immigrants wages (causing many to be unemployed) and then returning to their home land, only to bring their family back over to America to take more of the non-immigrants jobs (Document B). Lastly, a picture is shown of the immigrants from South- Eastern Europeans coming over to the U.S. And demanding no oppressive taxes, and no tyrants; an economy where the immigrants are allowed to just come over to America and gain a job not problem. The immigrants imagined a world where they could get free education, and free land to start their life in the nation (Document A).

As leaders of this nation began to see the excessive outrage of many non-immigrants, they began to do something about the filtration process of the new immigrants coming over. Many new tests were formed in order to secure the amount of jobs being taken by Southern and Eastern Europeans. These tests included literacy tests, and simple health tests to test for mental illness, insanity, etc. In the end the new filtration laws were only letting about 37% of all immigrants into the United States (Document H). Many Americans responded well to these new laws, because they did not want insane, or illiterate, or mentally handicapped people taking over their jobs and taking their wages.

Finally, there was much arguing about the immigrants that were allowed in, and the types of immigrants that were allowed in. This controversy laid within the foreign policies of America and its surrounding nations. In a highly xenophobic society, Americans were extremely racist, especially against the Japanese. For the longest time, Japanese were not allowed in the work force of America, let alone America. The new laws that were created did everything they possibly could to ensure there would be no Japanese immigrants granted access to America, but finally that was later removed and the foreign affairs between Japan workers and non-immigrant workers ended with the allowance of Japanese workers in America (Document E).

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