My plight to become a US citizenlasted twenty five years. I moved in 1986 and ever since I arrived to this country I have had a job, I have paid taxes, obeyed all laws and I have thousands of hours of volunteer service. So why am I just becoming a US citizen? Believe me is not for lack of trying. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars and years of waiting for this day to become a reality. But our plight is nothing new in thisnation. Immigration has been always a hot political issue, one that has been used by many for many of years to gain political advantage.
One of the great Fathers of our country Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1751 "This Pennsylvania will in a few years become a German colony; instead of [their] learning our language, we must learn theirs, or live as in a foreign country." And so the never endingstory of difficulties for immigrants began. Alien and Sedition acts give President John Adams in 1798 arbitrary power to seize and expel resident aliens suspected of subversive activities. The laws expired after two years and were not renewed. Later on between 1820 and 1880 came the first great wave of immigration to the United States. Over ten million immigrants arrived with northern and westernEuropeans (mostly British, Irish, and German) predominating. Many settle in the rural Midwest. Just between 1851 and 1860 1.7 million moved to the US. Within the same sixty tear period during the Hungarian revolution and some Failed revolutions in Europe spur migration to the United States from what will be Germany and what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgoends Mexican-American War and allows the United States to acquire Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, and parts of Utah and Nevada from Mexico for $15 million. Mexican residents of the newly acquired territory are allowed to remain. They were subjected to serious discrimination for the first time but become the heart of labor for the American Southwest. Sounds familiar.
As of thecensus of 1850 the Roman Catholic church becomes the largest religious denomination in the United States, due primarily to Irish and German immigration. This was the peak decade for Irish migration to the United States. (The total for the decade was 914,199.) Many would be surprised to find out that Catholicism remains the largest single religious denomination today in the United States.
Lateron between 1848 and 1854 a significant Chinese migration to the United States begins in the aftermath of the California gold rush but in 1954 the California Supreme Court bars Chinese immigrants from testifying in any trail involving a white man.
The Know-Nothing movement won sweeping victories in Congress and state legislative elections. The Know-Nothings objected to the increasing numbersof Roman Catholic immigrants from Ireland and other countries. They called for limits on immigrants and a twenty-one-year period before immigrants could become voting citizens. The Know-Nothing movement ceased to be a national force by 1860, although nativists (those who stand up for the "native" Americans) continued to lobby against immigrants in succeeding decades.
As the century progressedin 1869 Japanese begin to migrate to the United States. The first arrive in California as political refugees. Racial tensions grow between Asians and other Californians. The consequence for this tensions was the passage of the Naturalization Act in 1870, limiting American citizenship to "white persons and persons of African descent," thereby discriminating against Asian immigrants.