Posted by: davidbancroft | November 18, 2015

America Has Not Been and is Not Now Friendly to Immigrants

The reality is that the United States has not been the welcoming nation that is portrayed by many of America’s leaders. The verse on the Statue of Liberty was more likely a wish than a fact.

The reality is immigrants have been welcomed in the United States when there has been a labor need. The outstanding situations were building the railroads that brought thousands of Chinese in the 1800s, the flourishing factories of the early 20th century, and today the need for farm workers, gardeners, hotel workers, and restaurant workers-the jobs Americans don’t want to do.

Look at America’s history starting with the second administration of the United States. John Adams, our second president signed four bills into law referred to as The Alien and Sedition Acts. The Alien Friends Act allowed the president to imprison or deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” at any time, while the Alien Enemies Act authorized the president to do the same to any male citizen of a hostile nation, above the age of 14, during times of war. Clearly, the Federalists saw foreigners as a deep threat to American security. As one Federalist in Congress declared, there was no need to “invite hordes of Wild Irishmen, nor the turbulent and disorderly of all the world, to come here with a basic view to distract our tranquillity.” Not coincidentally, non-English ethnic groups had been among the core supporters of the Democratic-Republicans in 1796. Those Democratic-Republicans were the party opposing the Federalists.

Then in 1875 came the Page Act. The law was named after its sponsor, Representative Horace F. Page, a Republican who introduced it to “end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women.” It was the first federal immigration law and prohibited the entry of immigrants considered as “undesirable.” The law classified as “undesirable” any individual from Asia who was coming to America to be a contract laborer.

In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act restricted immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years and prohibited Chinese naturalization.

Then in 1891 the First comprehensive immigration laws for the US. The Immigration Bureau, created by the law, was directed to deport unlawful aliens.

The 1898 the Supreme Court case United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the decision resulted in the recognition of the 14th amendment as taking priority and the ruling that all Chinese children born in the United States are citizens of the United States.

The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 limited the number of immigrants from any country to 3% of those already in the US from that country as per the 1910 census.

The 1924 Immigration Act imposed first permanent numerical limit on immigration and thus began a national-origin quota system.

In 1954 under the direction of President Eisenhower, Operation Wet Back sent about 1 million Mexicans back to Mexico. Many of the deportations probably included many legal residents of the United States.

I have not covered all of the history of immigration into the United States but you certainly get the message that this country has not been friendly to immigrants. They have been used when there was a labor shortage of people willing to do the work that most Americans won’t do.

So why would the United States be willing to grant entry to Syrians, Iraqis, and other Middle Easterners? It’s not likely. There is no current need for more people in the United States. There is little evidence of sympathy. Read this article in the Washington Post on American opinion about permitting the migration of Jews in the late 1930s. The article shows a Gallup poll that indicated 61% of Americans at that time opposed allowing 10,000 Jewish refugee children into the United States.

Unless you bring a technical skill or money that will create jobs we really don’t want you to immigrate to our country. Those people from the Middle East don’t follow our religion, don’t understand our culture, and don’t speak our language. We really don’t want you!

David Bancroft



  1. I cried when I read your posting. We are better than that- we have been accepting refugees since the Vietnam era and the 1980 law covers refugees. I refuse to believe that we are a country of hate filled people without compassion for our human beings. Being Irish – my ancestors were considered just above slaves- signs that we don’t accept Irish was the norm. We have nothing to fear but fear itself- we are a better country than you seem to think. The majority of us are compassionate giving and not hateful bigots. In my state we have had a very large refugee population and guess what- it made us better for the cultural additions.

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