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History shows harshness towards immigrants remains | St. Louis, Missouri Immigration & Deportation Attorney

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A recent article posted at makes the point that the phrase “America is a country of immigrants” has been thrown around during political elections and ever since the constitution was signed yet is not fully accepted. The President and Congress are looking at a new comprehensive immigration plan because of the broken immigration system that has been putting restrictions on immigrants for years. While lawmakers throw around different ideas and make promises that will fix the immigration system, citizens are still confused and wonder what the real solution to fix this problem is?

Historically, immigrants have always had restrictions put on them to make it difficult to come to this country. As early as 1798, President John Adams signed into law the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts that justified the unrest of non-English immigrants during the French Revolution. “Among them was the Alien Enemies Act that allowed for the detention and deportation of resident aliens from any country with which the U.S. was at war. The law remains on the books today and was used to help justify such things as the internment of the Japanese during World War II.” It is fair to say the government has not always embraced immigrants with open arms and the future does not necessarily seem much brighter.

The U.S. has focused on controlling the system and having the ability to make the executive decisions rather than working with individuals with what realistically works. For example, when Chinese immigration was banned, Japanese workers filled the jobs which eventually led to an all Asian immigration ban. It is unrealistic for the government to think it can put a numerical value on the number of skilled workers we need or how many seasonal workers can arrive per year. Following 9/11 the visa process is more complex and time consuming, and those trying to apply for citizenship have even more difficulties.

The Congress and President must seriously consider immigration history and what actions and policies have led to the downfall of a system that needs to be completely redone. There are several important steps that Congress can take to aid the immigrants trying to make the U.S. their home:

  • Eliminate or reduce limitations on work-based visas for workers
  • Allow current illegal immigrants with no criminal record to apply for work permits and attain legal status
  • Study family-based immigration data and eliminate the 20 year wait to reunite families

America is a country of immigrants and despite the stigma associated with it, the new comprehensive reform Congress implements has the power to shift the ways Americans view and accept immigrants.

If you have questions regarding acquiring a visa, the pathway to becoming a citizen, or about immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.

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