2 During the colonial era and even after the United States gained independence, Americans favored immigration.Until the 1870s, immigrants were welcomed.But over time, American views on immigration changed.Many Americans started to look at immigrants differently.
3 Of course, Americans viewed immigration from different perspectives. Industrialists saw immigrants as a source of labor.Nativists and anti-immigrant groups such as the "Know Nothing“ Party were threatened by immigrants.Still other Americans wanted immigrants to assimilate.Ultimately, the government decided to put restrictions on immigration.
4 Government restrictions ranged from the number of people who could enter the U.S from various regions to health screenings and literacy tests.
5 The nativist movement was a movement that was against immigration and favored American-born citizens.Nativists feared immigrants for many reasons.The KKK was another group that did not support immigration.The KKK attacked Catholics and Jews who wanted to seek a better life in the United States.
6 Of course, as government policies towards immigrants changed, immigrants had to get used to the new system, a system that required more from them, like passing examinations.
7 Even more restrictive was The Chinese Exclusion Act which was passed on May 6, 1882. This Act was designed to prevent the Chinese from coming to the United States.In addition, a literacy test was established for all immigrants in 1917.If an immigrant could not pass the literacy test, he was not allowed to enter the U.S.
9 Quotas were set for different ethnic groups entering the United States. The first quota act was passed in 1921 (The Quota Act of 1921).The second quota act was called The Immigration Act of 1924.The quota acts limited the amount of people entering the United Stated from particular regions.
10 Still, there were many facilities set up to receive immigrants as soon they landed in America. Immigrants were detained in these facilities while they went through the screenings that were required of them.The most famous facility was Ellis Island in New York.Its doors were open for immigrants in 1892 and didn’t close its doors until 1954.
11 If an immigrant had a disease, he was deported back to his homeland. Immigration officials feared that if an immigrant was ill, he would not be able to make a living and that would hurt the economy.The economic background check was to make sure that an immigrant would not be dependent on the government after entering the mainland.
12 The “New Immigrants” from central and southern Europe faced new barriers to immigration. Chinese immigrants were often excluded from immigration.Yet ultimately, as new immigrants entered the United States, they contributed to the history and development of the nation.