US Immigration Laws

Immigration rules and laws in United States for foreign Nationals

Immigration into the United States had no restrictions until 1882, as there was very little opposition among US citizens to immigration policies. The first Alien naturalization Act of 1790 has revolutionized the US immigration history by providing national citizenship for the “free white persons” and liberalized the entry of many European immigrants into the country. After 1830, people became relatively more cautious about the increasing volume of immigration as well as the growing US population.

Immigration laws from 1882 to 1965:

  • The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was the first piece of legislation and one of the most significant US immigration laws that restricted number of people coming to US. The 1882 Act called for a 10-year moratorium on Chinese entering the U.S and it stayed in effect until it was removed during World War II.
  • Another law known as the Contract Labor Law of 1885 stopped the employers from bringing the immigrants from different countries into US to work for cheap wages.
  • The 1917 literacy tests Act and 1921 Johnson-Reed Act had imposed many limitations on the number of other nationalities entering into US on annual basis.
  • Three years later in 1924, the National Origins Act changed the previously existing US immigration laws by lowering the total European quota to about 165,000 and established a requirement for visas from American consulate abroad before immigration.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965:

The Hart-Cellar Immigration and nationality act of 1965 was the most momentous Act among other US immigration laws because it served as the basis for current US immigration policy.

  • The Act of 1965 abolished the immigration and naturalization criteria based on the nation of origin and race and established the entries based on the series of preferences to the relatives of US citizens and permanent resident aliens.
  • This new law led to the creation of Immigration naturalization Service provided quick admittance of immigrants into US with vital and required skills like doctors and scientists.
  • It is the most important US immigration laws that removed the restriction on non-European nations and opened the doors for other immigrants mainly from Asian countries.

Current US immigration Laws:

By the end of 20th century, there were many reformations to the policy of the 1965 Naturalization Act, with better enforcement of immigration policies by producing more possibilities to legal immigrants.

  • The USICS is the main division that holds the responsibility for the enforcement of all US immigration laws to strengthen the integrity and security of the immigration system.
  • Presently, for the people seeking to live in US, there are two types of visas known as immigrant visas and temporary or non-immigrant visas.
  • The immigrant visa allotment has a limitation based on the country caps where as the non-immigrant visa types such as H1B, B-1, BCC, E-3, and J etc are divided into various categories based on the purpose of travel to US on a temporary basis.