Some more places. About 1619, the African and Caribbean

Some say the United States is like a melting pot, others consider U.S. a salad bowl. Either way immigration has been going on since the colonial era and still is happening. I’m a legal immigrant myself and this unit has educated me more about immigration.This essay is about the 4 major waves of history and present immigration in the US. After going through these 4 waves, I begin to see the American story which is a story of immigration itself.Before the first wave were the years before 1790. The first people to discover and to live in America were the Native Americans and around year 1500, the European migration began. The attraction of America grew and many Europeans kept on coming, to seek for available land and hoped to have religious and political freedom. When the European arrived there were no problems with the Native Americans, but other places turned out violent. The violence turned into diseases spreading, diseases such as measles and smallpox. By the 16th century, the Spanish established in St. Augustine. In the 17th century British settled in New English and Virginia, while the Dutch settled in New York and more places. About 1619, the African and Caribbean slaves were forced to move to America.The first wave were from years 1790-1820 and the English were the largest ethnic group not counting the indigenous, while 1 in 5 Americans were slaves by 1790. In the same year, it was on averagely 6,000 immigrants each year and some were French refugees because of the revolt that happened in Haiti. In 1798, an anti immigrant law was passed and the Naturalization Act required immigrants to have 5 to 14 years of residency in the US in order to be citizen. This act also gave the president power to either expel or arrest illegal immigrants, but this law expired later on. In 1806 immigration decreased because of the conflict between Napoleon’s France and England which caused some refugees to flee to America and disrupted Atlantic shipping lanes. Peace was re-established in 1814 and major port cities like Philadelphia and New York had many newcomers, but many arrived either sick or dying because of their long journeys. By 1819, the Congress responders with the Steerage Act and this act required ship captains to keep the passengers’ records and handle situations in a more human way.After the first wave of US immigration came the second.The second wave happened in 1820 through 1880. The second wave consisted the beginning of the industrial revolution, the Know-Nothings and Yellow Peril. When the Industrial Revolution began most of the immigrants that came were from German Empire, Ireland, Britain, and Austro-Hungarian Empire. They came for transportation improvements, European strife, and the live the “American Dream”. The Germans migrated because of the failure of democratic revolution, the Scandinavians migrated because of the civil war, and the Chinese because of poverty. The Irish were under British rule and were persecuted for their own religion. Most of them who migrated settled on farms, Irish men worked on railroads and canals, while the Irish women worked as domestic servants. During the hard times, the immigrants were accused of stealing the jobs of the American workers. Nativism also played role in the lives of the immigrants. Nativism meaning those who are born in American are more favored and benefited compared to those who were immigrants. There were nativism played role in religion, racialism, radicalism, rural resentment, and economical resentment. The Know-Nothings were was an American Party. The meme era of the party pledged to secrecy and would only answer “I know nothing” when being questioned about their group. The Know-Nothings defended Protestantism against Catholicism. The Yellow Peril was an ideology that Chinese-Americans were a growing threat to the US. They were racially prejudiced, because of their foreign ways. There were state and local laws being passed that discriminate Chinese-Americans. In 1882 there was the Exclusion Act, which stopped the Chinese immigration.After the Second Wave, came the third. The Third Wave occurred during 1880-1930. There were about 22.3 million immigrants who came in this wave. Many were accepted and many were also excluded. They came from the Mediterranean and Canada, but the majority were from Europe. Immigrants wanted to move because of the lack of jobs and food, and religious persecution. They wanted to come to the United States for freedom and economic opportunities. This wave’s immigrants had different experiences with their traveling. From the past years, immigrants have traveled in sailing ships, then a technical advancement like steamships allowed many immigrants to travel during this phase. With the steamships, it shortened their travel from 3 months to about 2 weeks. In 1880, most immigrants came from Northwest Europe and once they disembarked at Ellis Island, they headed to the federal immigrant processing center. Many who immigrated were families and men who would later send for their wives and family. Most waited in the long line hanging onto their papers and belongings. Immigrants were inspected to see if they were fit to stay since they were perceived as dangerous. If they had a sort of condition or disease, they would be marked with a chalk and each condition has its own symbol. Two out of ten were marked for further inspections. Mainland was still a harbor away from the immigrants. They went through medical and psychological tests, but were given 3 chances. A majority were able to gain legal enter and about 20% were declined. Other groups such as Mexicans, Armenians, and Jews were welcomed to America, but the Chinese weren’t because of the Exclusion Act being passed by the Congress in 1882. Although in 1907 the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” with Japan allowed families to be welcome. The Angel Island Immigration Station was the closest they would get the the American mainland. Once immigrants gained legal enter, they settled in cheap housing and set up their own businesses, churches, and restaurants. It was 2 decades of filtering in and out immigrants, but in 1914-1917 was WWI. This caused the number of immigration to reduce gradually. As the war ended the number of immigrants started to go back up, but they were inspected strictly than before. The Fourth Wave of US immigration started 1965 and is still going 2000s, present time. Throughout this timeline approximately 30 million immigrants came to America. Most of the immigrants came from Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. On October 3, 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration and Naturalization Act. This act put an end to the National Origins quota system which favored Northwestern Europe immigrants. The Immigration and Naturalization Act provided family reunification, individual talents and skills, and refugee status for legal entry. New requirements were also made for admittance. This act opened up a door for the immigrants. With this act the amount of legal immigrants increased drastically. When the doors opened, the introduction to jet aircraft which shortened the travels and lowered the cost of travel.There’s different reasons to why they came. The factors to why they came is because of rising population pressures, poverty in third world country, and repression from government. Southeast Asians were refugees from the war. They came for freedom and economic opportunities. Although legals immigrants increased, so did the amount of illegal immigrants. When the number continuously increased, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1986 was passed. The IRCA’s purpose was to address that problem. IRCA attempted to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who wanted to be legal citizens and employers were fined when they hire undocumented immigrants. The 4th Wave immigrants lived in California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, NY, and NJ.The depressed cities started to get back up on their feet again and brought new ethnic and religious diversity.Immigration pretty much is the American story and it’s a major factor of how America is now. I think that immigration will forever go on. I’m a documented immigrant myself and as bad as I want all of my family from the Philippines to be here, I understand the requirements in order to be here. But I do think that immigration policy can be improved.


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