How the Founders felt about Immigration – From their own words.Posted: December 12, 2013
It is once again time – based on what legislators are saying and trying to pass a bill for such as Senate bill 744 – and even more so for all of our readers who have been relentlessly searching the Archives section of this site for more information; subsequently, perhaps in two, three, or more articles time needs to be addressed and examined pursuant to How the Founders felt about Immigration – From their own words.
America has a long and generous tradition of welcoming as equal citizens a larger number of immigrants, from a greater variety of national and religious origins, than any other nation in history. Although in decades before the Founding Era by far the most immigrants were of North and Western European backgrounds.
That was until roughly 1870 when limits were placed upon those European’s and from 1880 until 1915 legislation was passed to begin accepting more people from Southern and Eastern Europe.
After 1920 legislation severely limited North and West European’s chances as well. The 1965 Immigration Act tremendously increased the numbers and changed the sources of immigrants. This particular law in effect made it much harder for Europeans, regardless of direction and made it far easier for non-Europeans to come to America.
Between 1900 and 1994, over 1.2 million people per year were granted the wellness and liberty of America. Eighty percent (80%) of that figure were non-European who immigrated to the U.S.A. This figure of course is
derived from material from between 1900 and 1994. Furthermore, this figure does not include the amount of people who entered the U.S. by unlawful means. In 1997 there was a fairly accurate number of approximately 7.5 million immigrants living in the U.S. in violation of the law.
Most Americans think these levels are too high; bearing in mind that the data used is from 1989-90 survey used to finally get a grip on stopping something from getting out of control. Seventy-four percent (74%) of non-Hispanic white citizens, whilst seventy-five (75%) of Mexican American citizens agreed with the statement, “There are too many immigrants” living in the United States.
However, before letting this writing get out of sorts, exactly in the fashion of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has done – let us digress to the Founding Era primarily.
The American Founders would reject both of today’s dominant views of immigration reform. They would agree with those who say the America is based on the principle that all humankind are born free and equal. However, they would reject the conclusion that this requires minimal or no restraints on immigration.
The Founders supported the view that a nation may, and sometimes must, set limits on immigration, even to the point of considering national origin. Yet they based this view on the equality principle, not on its rejection.
Upon examination everything that the original Founding fathers did, believed in, and inevitably used far reaching controls over and at times against, are precisely what our nation’s Congress and Presidency is trying to do. Yes! Even after 235 years of experience, including what would work and what clearly does not work is now being considered for change.
We certainly are not trying to allege that this is all happening now. Oh contraire! Modifications have been supplanted as “reforms” throughout the country’s history; albeit, the importance of many issues were addressed and analyzed by the founding generation.
If there is any consolation, it was almost like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin, and Adams were one person speaking with one voice. All of these people and many more had clearly defined positions on immigration. We believe we should start with General George Washington and what his principles – although not many in number – clearly set forth.