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A Brief Look at Immigration History

If you follow the news, it seems immigration laws are more prevalent than ever. But our nation actually has a long history of immigration reform. Below are the top 5 defining moments in immigration history.

1. Naturalization Act of 1790. The Act restricted naturalization to free white persons. It was extended to people of African descent in 1870, but not to Asians. The Act was not completely removed from law until 1952.

2. Alien and Sedition Acts (1798). A series of acts, allowing deportation, apprehension and deportation of aliens as well as prohibiting the publication of false information about the government, These acts never actually resulted in any deportations, but did cause imprisonments and force some immigrants to flee the country. Historians consider them to be politically inspired and not practically inspired.

3. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). This treaty gave territory to the United States, which became Arizona, California and New Mexico. It also extended citizenship to Mexicans living in the newly annexed territory.

4. Rise of the Know Nothings (1850). The country’s first politically impactful anti-immigration group fielded two presidential candidates. The group’s candidates lost their presidential bids, but the Know Nothings controlled the Massachusetts legislature and won political seats across the country before a collapse in 1855.

5. Adoption of 14th Amendment (1868). The amendment stated that anyone born in the U.S. would automatically become a U.S. citizen.

As you can see, America has a complex immigration history. If you need help understanding the complexities of your current situation, please contact the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad & Associates.

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