Attracted by the abundant natural resources and seeking new opportunities for better quality of life many ethnic groups, races and nationalities migrated to United States of America in search of freedom and stability. The Immigration history of US is nothing but discoveries and anecdotes made by different people from various parts of the world. Even though immigration had a great impact on the racial ideology and ethnicity of American people, the country has seen a great positive influence in terms of economic and industrial growth. It was believed that during the prehistoric times about 20,000 years ago, America was first populated by the nomads of Northeast Asia who were considered as the ancestors of Native Indians.
But the real immigration history started in 1620 by the beginning of European migration settling down as colonies, many groups from northern Europe came to inhabit in these colonies and continued living until 1770. The immigration history of US depicts several facts of Africans who were brought as slaves during 1620s and by the end of colonial period nearly 20 percent of the American population included blacks. The declaration of independence in 1776 is a great breakthrough in American history that has separated the colonies from Great Britain and established itself as a liberal country of United States.
During the first half century of American independence the number of immigrants from Europe declined but there was a mass migration especially from Germany and Ireland after 1830s. The first Alien naturalization Act of 1790 has revolutionized the immigration history of US by providing national citizenship for the “free white persons”. This allowed many European immigrants enter into US and by the end of 1910 the number grew up to 13.5 millions. By the introduction of Johnson Reed Immigration Act in 1924, the quota of each nationality was reduced to 2% of total US population thus drastically reducing the southern and eastern European immigrants particularly Italians, Jews and Slavs.
Abolishing the immigration and naturalization criteria based on the nation of origin and race by Hart-Cellar Immigration and nationality act of 1965 had opened the doors for other immigrants from non-European nations mainly the skilled professionals from Asian countries. The immigration doubled from 1965 to 1990 but the census shows that there are about 2 to 4 million illegal immigrants in US with about half of them from Mexico. Based on the census of 2010 the nation’s immigration population reached 40 million which is considered as the highest number in the immigration history of US. Mexico is rated as the top most country to send nearly 12 million immigrants to US from 2000 to 2010 accounting for 29% of total immigration.