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Immigration began going bad when we started off and had land and an economy, but no one to farm, mine, or hunt. The Colonists attempted to use native labor to do these jobs for them. After many Native Americans refused to help them, the Colonists began shipping in African Americans, against their will, to the New World so they could do the Colonist's labor. This migration was somewhat successful, because it made America what it is today. It shaped the basic nature of our society and economy.
Between the 17th and 19th century, people started to willingly move over seas to the New World. They came from all sorts of places like: German-speaking area of the Palatinate, France (Protestant Huguenots), and the Netherlands. Other immigrants were Jews, also from the Netherlands and from Poland. Most of these immigrants came from the British Isles, with English, Scottish, Welsh, and Ulster Irish gravitating toward different colonies and regions.
These settlers came in with the promise of farming land to escape the poverty of their homeland. Many men and women were indentured servants. They came into contracts to perform hard labor for a certain amount of time and after they completed their contract they were given a small piece of land to work as independent farmers. 
From this decade to around the 1880s, about 15 million immigrants made their way to the United States, the majority choosing agriculture in the Midwest and Northeast, while others moved to cities like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore.
Demand for immigrant labor shot up with two major developments: the settlement of the American Midwest after the launch of the Erie Canal in 1825, the related rise of the port of New York, and the start of industrial development in the United States, centered in New England. As time went on, many groups began to migrate to certain parts of cities and regions, creating religious and societal groups. Some regions began to specialize in certain industries. Around the middle of the 19th century, the Midwest was on of the most fertile agricultural regions where immigrants from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark quickly moved to. Just before the civil war, immigrants from Ireland spread Catholicism which caused a strong dislike for other immigrants. Soon after this, small numbers of Chinese men immigrated into the American West. Americans that were already there disliked these new Chinese immigrants and passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  This Act banned Chinese "skilled and unskilled laborers" from entering the country for ten years. If they did come in they were up to face imprisonment and deportation. Many Chinese immigrants came in as non-laborers and had to obtain a certification from the Chinese government proving they were immigrating as a non-laborer, which was very difficult to prove.  Years after the Civil War, nearly 25 million Europeans made the voyage. Italians, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles, and others speaking Slavic languages made up the majority of this migration. Among them were 2.5 to 3 million Jews. As this flood of immigrants moved in, industries such as steel, coal, automobile, textile, garment production helped the U.S. skyrocket to the top of the world's economic leaders. 
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Congress came up with The National Origins Act in 1921. This act not only restricted the number of immigrants who might enter the United States but also assigned slots according to quotas based on national origins. This act gave preference to immigrants from northern and Western Europe, severely limited the numbers from eastern and southern Europe, and declared all potential immigrants from Asia to be unworthy of entry into the United States. It also excluded the Western hemisphere from the quota system. Immigrants freely moved from Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. Between 1925 and 1965, the U.S. admitted a limited number of refugees.
The Hart-Celler Act almost completely changed the law of immigration. They made changes in the law to promote immigration from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and other places in the developing world. Instead of keeping this racially based quota, they changed it so it was based on family relationships and job skills, giving particular preference to potential immigrants with family that were already living in the U.S. and laborers willing to work in places that were "deemed critical" by the U.S. Department of Labor. After 1970, their plan started working as they got huge flows of immigration from Korea, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, and other countries in Africa. By 2000, U.S. immigration had settled down back to where it was in 1900, where the U.S. was known for being formed by immigrants. 
Currently, we find ourselves locked in debates over immigration. Many people state that immigrants seem unwilling to contribute to American society and that they just want to work on their own personal growth. Also, that they are too concerned with their own cultural values to even consider or try to make the transition to American values. Some believe that immigrants steal jobs from working Americans and put burdens on education, welfare, and healthcare systems. These people also strongly dislike the mass of illegal immigrants, because they pose a threat to American society. Penalties for illegal immigration rang from imprisonment, deportation, or very hefty fines. 
On the other end of the spectrum, there are many groups that support immigration because they believe it's what America is all about. These groups understand that immigrants move because of overpopulation, low economy, and employment.  They believe that immigrants come here to make a new and better life for themselves and they add to our cultural diversity by adding new languages, food, and religions. They make communities and help us with manual labor that Americans now are not so willing to do. 
Nowadays, it is a very long process to live in the U.S., you have to fill out many forms, take a test, file papers, pay fines, visit a doctor, and a lot of other things. There are five major departments that focus on the immigration process: the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Homeland Security is subdivided into three departments: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection. The Department of Homeland Security had smaller departments that specialize in certain aspects of immigration. The ODPP, or Office of Detention Policy Planning, is responsible for designing a new civil detention system to meet the needs of the Immigration and Customs Enforcements.Â The ODPP works on improving future designs and locations of civil immigration detention facilities. The ODPP will focus on population management, detention management, programs management, health care management, management to alternative to detention (monitored living, etc), special population's management for women, children, and the elderly, and accountability. These programs will help keep immigrants in reasonable living conditions.  The ICE has many programs and authorities that enforce national security and public safety. 
There are two different types of Visa's. The Immigrant Visa is for people immigrating to the U.S. Non Immigrant Visa's are for people who are staying for a limited period of time, like tourists or those on a business trip. The U.S. alone allows more than 1 million aliens to become Legal Permanent Residents every year. The U.S. has made much stricter and serious rules and procedures to become a U.S. citizen, especially after 9/11. 
Now, a very big problem is illegal immigration. That is when a person resides in a country illegally. An immigrant can be illegal in many ways like, moving into another country illegally or being on a Non-Immigrant Visa and staying longer than your approved period of time. Illegal immigrants try to play the rules that we have in the U.S. One way would be that, the parents move into the U.S. illegally and have their children. Even if the parents get caught and sent back, the child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. Many illegal immigrants cross the borders by boat and others get a smuggler to help them cross the borders into the U.S. by car. They also hide in shipping containers, trucks, boxcars, or they bribe authorities. With increased security measures and technology, crossing the border has become very difficult. Many immigrants try numerous times before making it across.
When an illegal immigrant makes it across and finds somewhere to live, they usually work at a "low-skilled" job that is manual labor that no one would do voluntarily and one that doesn't require speaking English too much. In the U.S., landscaping and construction tend to be the most common places for work. Other jobs include; restaurants, hospitality, prostitution, and domestic service. Work regulations ban employers from hiring illegal immigrants. But many employers do because they can pay the worker lower than minimum wage and have them working in unsafe conditions. Although, it is illegal for an employer to hire an illegal immigrant, it is usually overlooked by the government. Also, an illegal immigrant usually won't report working in unsafe conditions because then they will be deported.  13
In "Biting the Hand That Feeds You", Congressman Steve King from Iowa made a few statistical comments about illegal immigration. In one day, 12 American lives would be saved from the killing hand of an illegal immigrant, 13 American lives would survive, that otherwise would have been killed each day by the drunk driving of an illegal immigrant with no insurance, 80% of the smuggled heroin, marijuana, cocaine, would not have made it into the U.S., Americans would not have to stand in line at the hospital behind illegal's with gunshot wounds, anchor babies and imported diseases, and 8 American children would not suffer from sexual abuse. Congressman Steve King also commented on the negative effects of illegal immigration to all Americans personally. He said that easy passage is made for terrorists to enter the U.S., high spike in crime rates, increased number of traffic accidents, increased discrimination and segregation, high rise in population, big impact on education and society, destruction of ecosystems, main cause of emergency room and hospital closings and service cut backs, third world diseases, increased welfare costs, massive cost to society. Clearly, Congressman Steve King is strongly against illegal immigration. 
Many people believe that the reason for 9/11 was the lack of security in immigration procedures. They think that if the terrorists were examined more closely and the pilot licenses weren't given out to them so easily among many other things, than it could have been stopped. If anyone even stopped to notice that 3 of the 4 9/11 terrorists were illegal immigrants, 9/11 could have also been prevented. A June 2006 article, Broken, by Kenneth R. Timmerman, wrote about a Homeland Security publication. One piece of this article stated: "The report reveals that 45,008 aliens from countries on the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terror or from countries that protected terrorist organizations and their members were released into the general public between 2001 and 2005, even though immigration officers couldn't confirm their identity." 
In the early 19th century, people were forcefully sent to the U.S. to become slaves. Recently, young girls and women have been smuggled into the U.S. and other countries for sex slave trade. 
There are many rules and regulations U.S. citizens have to follow in order to be married to someone who is not a U.S. citizen, or to move to another country to marry someone. If a citizen wants to marry a non-U.S. citizen there are two visas' that they will need to be concerned about. The first is a finance visa, it is a temporary visa that they will have until after the wedding. After that they will need to go through the procedures to change their status and become a permanent resident. If a U.S. citizen plans to marry someone outside of the U.S., they will need to get a Green Card (which is an immigrant visa), if their husband or wife plans to come and live in the U.S. and work permanently. If a U.S. citizen is already married to a non-U.S. citizen and their spouse wants to live and work in the U.S., they will need to go through a few procedures depending on their situation. If the spouse is living in the U.S. without a finance visa, they will need to fill out an immigrant visa petition. In any situation, the non-U.S. citizen has been married for less than two years and is approved for a Green Card; they will receive a conditional permanent resident status. If they do this, they must prove that they did not get married to avoid the laws and procedures of immigration. 
There are also many other types of visas. There are employment based visas, family based visas, temporary work visas, student visas, business visas, travel visas, exchange visitor visas, intracompany transferee visas, spouse visas, fiancé visas, and adopted child visas. There are certain procedures to obtain all of these visas. There are also many rules and regulations that the visa holder must abide by depending on the type of visa. 
An immigrant can also have dual citizenship; which means being a citizen of two countries. You can have dual citizenship by being born in one country and you move to another country and complete all the necessary evaluation processes to be a citizen. Many people born in the U.S. have dual citizenship with Canada. 
There was much legislation written about immigration. It all started with the Naturalization Act of 1790, this act granted national citizenship, and was later revised three more times after than and once more in 1906. After that was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was covered, that banned Chinese from immigrating into the U.S. The Act of 1891 established a Commissioner of Immigration into the Treasury Department. The Alien Contract Labor Law of 1885 prohibited the importation and migration of alien's under contract. The Geary Act strengthened the Chinese Exclusion Act by making more and stricter requirements. The revised Naturalization Act in 1906 put some requirements for learning the English language on immigration requirements. The Immigration Act of 1917 restricted immigration from Asia and created the "Asiatic Barred Zone". After that, in 1921, was the Emergency Quota Act, this annual act restricted immigration from a given country to 3% of the number of people of that country living in the U.S. in 1910. The National Origins Formula came along with Immigration Act of 1924 that also limited the number of immigrants. The National Origins Formula kept it down to 150,000 per year. The Chinese Exclusionary Repeal Act of 1943 cancelled out the Chinese Exclusion Act that permitted Chinese national in the U.S. to become naturalized citizens.  The Act of 1940 concerned "Nationality at Birth", "Nationality through Naturalization", and "Loss of Nationality". The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 liberalized immigration from Asia, but gave more power to the U.S. government to deport immigrants when they were suspected of Communist sympathies. Operation Wetback was a project by the INS in 1954 to deport 1.2 million illegal immigrants (mostly Mexican nationals) from the Southwest.  Mexican immigration was restricted in 1965 with the passing of another Immigration and Nationality Act. This act also discontinued quotas of national origin, but gave a lot of preference for those with U.S. relatives. The Immigration and Reform Control Act was passed in 1986. It gave illegal immigrants who had been living in the U.S. pardon if they were living in the U.S. before 1982, but it made it illegal for employers to hire illegal immigrants. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 made asylum laws, immigration detention, criminal-based immigration, and immigration relief change drastically on the way they were controlled and the different regulations. The most immigration act that was passed was in 2005 and was the REAL ID Act.
After 9/11, immigration procedures became very strict. This act highly increased immigration enforcement mechanisms, put more restrictions on political asylum, altered judicial review, and put federal restrictions on issuing state driver's licenses to immigrants. In 2006 the Secure Fence Act put up 700 miles of double-reinforced fence along the Mexico border where many illegal immigrants cross and where a lot of illegal drug-trafficking is done. 
Within the last couple of weeks, the Arizona bill was put into action. This bill imposes some of the toughest and harshest immigration laws. This bill gives the police new powers to arrest and charge people "suspected of being in the country illegally".
This caused a large uproar and pointed fingers at Arizona for racial profiling. It also pushes harsher requirements on immigrants. In Arizona, it is a new state misdemeanor if an immigrant does not carry their alien registration documents, allow police to arrest immigrants that don't show proof of legal residence, allow people to sue if they think a government agency has adopted a policy that skews immigration enforcement, prohibits people from blocking traffic if they are standing on a street corner looking for a job, and it is illegal for people to transport illegal immigrants knowingly.  24
With the recent Arizona law and the bomb scandal in Times Square, people are becoming very concerned with our immigration problems. The suspected bomb planter, Faisal Shahzad, is a naturalized citizen from Pakistan. He was arrested with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Family members of Shahzad called his arrest a "conspiracy". People in New York and around the country are becoming very concerned as to how the U.S. let in a potential terrorist through our immigration tests and procedures. Many have begun to say that clearly the methods aren't strong enough if things like this continue to happen. 
All in all, it is very doubtful that everyone will agree on whether immigration is right or wrong. It adds to the diversity of America but it also takes jobs from American citizens and poses problems for law breaking. Immigration has been a concern for everyone, including the government, since the start of our country. There have been laws, arguments and procedures to tweak the way the U.S. handles immigration so it keeps our country and its people safe.