History of Migration and Immigration Laws

History of Migration and Immigration Laws - History of...

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History of Migration and Immigration Laws in the United States General Premises of U.S. Citizenship: "From a legal perspective, the peoples previously known as Orientals and now designated as Asian Americans have almost all, at one time or another, been excluded from U.S. citizenship. (Recent refugees and immigrants from Southeast Asia in the wake of Vietnam War constitute an exception.)" (From Sau-ling Cynthia Wong, Reading Asian American Literature: From Necessity to Extravagance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993, 5). "The McCarran-Walter Act establishes the basic laws of U.S. citizenship and immigration. This act, also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, has undergone several changes since its adoption. Originally, the law admitted only a certain number of immigrants of each nationality. But a law passed by Congress in 1965 gave preference to immigrants with skills needed in the United States and to close relatives of U.S. citizens. A 1990 law continued these preferences. Aliens must be admitted as legal immigrants to get U.S. citizenship. People who flee to the United States after being officially certified as refugees may receive immigrant status" (World Book Encyclopedia)Naturalization Act (1790) "The Naturalization Act of 1790 passed by Congress employed explicitly racial criteria limiting citizenship to ëfree white personsí; after this act was successfully challenged on behalf of blacks after the Civil War, ëAsian immigrants became the most significant ëotherí in terms of citizenship eligibilityí (Lesser, 85)" (Wong 5). Critical race theorists and legal scholars have also explored the imbrications of race, citizenship and the American legal system. In addition to whiteness defining the legal status of a person as slave or free (in the pre-Emancipation period), Cheryl I Harris argues that "white identity conferred tangible and economically valuable benefits" and was "central to national identity and to the republican project" (280, 285). Harrisís essay explores the valencesólegally, historically, and ideologicallyóof "whiteness as property," and she extends this analysis to the changing definitions of citizenship as introduced in the Naturalization Act of 1790: "The franchise, for example, was broadened to extend voting rights to unpropertied white men at the same time that black voters were specifically disenfranchised, arguably shifting the property required for voting from land to whiteness" (286). [Harris, "Whiteness as Property," from Critical Race Theory]. National Amendments or Prohibitions to Citizenship : Amendment 14: Civil RightsóCitizenship Granted to freed African Americans (ratified in 1868). Amendment 15: Black SuffrageóVoting rights extended to African Americans (ratified in 1870).
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Asian Exclusion Acts "Though Congress never enacted a law that specifically names 'Asians' or
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This note was uploaded on 09/22/2011 for the course AMS 205 taught by Professor Guidiana during the Spring '09 term at Miami University.

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History of Migration and Immigration Laws - History of...

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