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p. 171. Unregulated immigration and its opponents from Colonial America to the mid-nineteenth centurylocked

  • David A. Gerber


Immigration has been an issue that the United States has always had to face. American law and policy has evolved gradually over immigration and citizenship. In the American context, there has always been discontent with large-scale immigration, whether manifested in nativism or in calls for regulation or restriction. American history sees cycles of open borders followed by state action to close those borders. What shape did initial policies have? At the start of the United States, it was assumed that borders were open to all Europeans. The Naturalization Law of 1795 embodied a consensus in Congress on the terms of citizenship. Anxieties in the mid-nineteenth century were about the arrival of poor peasants and artisans.

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