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Immigration: A Catholic Response Part I: U.S. History of Immigration. For generations, our families have migrated…. Statue of Liberty. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

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Immigration a catholic response part i u s history of immigration l.jpg
Immigration: A Catholic Response Part I:U.S. History of Immigration



Statue of liberty l.jpg
Statue of Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I life my lamp beside the golden door.

Emma Lazarus


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Immigrants satisfy a U.S. demand

In the 1990s: over half of US workforce growth was from immigrants.

  • 2000-2005: immigrants accounted for 86% of increase in US employment (about 50% were Hispanics of which 50% Mexican).

  • For next 20 years, no net increase is predicted in the number of prime working-age natives (ages 15-54).


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“Push” to U.S. Immigration

  • 1840-50: Irish Potato Famine – mostly Irish Catholics come.

  • 1850: U.S. seizes 1/3 of Mexico

  • Mexican border relatively open until 1920

    • Mexicans come and go freely

    • 1910: Mexican Revolution seizes land

    • 1920: Cristero Movement repressed


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“Push” to U.S. Immigration

Chinese rush to U.S. in 1840-1870

  • 1839-42: Opium War with Britain

  • Loss of Hong Kong to Britain

  • Taiping Rebellion 1850-64

  • Agricultural crisis and rice shortage


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“Push” to U.S. Immigration

  • 1890-1924: Period of greatest immigration

  • Ellis Island: 1892 – 1924:

    • 5000 enter daily, maybe 1 in 50 rejected

    • 12 million had entered by 1954 when closed

  • WWI generates Italian, Slav, Greek, Polish, Jewish immigrants (Southern Europe)


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Historic “Pull” of Immigrants

Immigrants satisfy US economic needs

  • 1864: 1st comprehensive federal immigration law to work frontier (RR, mining, farming, e.g., Chinese recruited for Calif gold rush 1848-1882).

  • 1870s: Companies recruit in Mexico in part to replace Chinese, but mostly seasonal.

  • 1882: Chinese Exclusion Act, denies more entries, no return if leave, sponsoring relatives and citizenship denied.

  • WWI: Government, industry and agriculture contract Mexican labor.


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U.S. Limits Immigration

  • Limits usually accompanied by anti immigrant, xenophobic campaigns e.g., anti Chinese movement in midst of 1870 US depression.

  • Up to 1850s – 85% of immigrants were English, Scotch Irish, and German; all other groups suspect because “Not like us.”

  • After WWI: door slammed shut:

    • 1900-1915: 15 million enter U.S.

    • 1915-1930: 5.5 million enter U.S.


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U.S. Limits Immigration

1917: Literacy Act – very exclusionary

  • need to write or speak English and another language

  • aims to exclude southern Europeans & Jews & excluded all Asians, including Indians, Malaysians, etc. Even though 12% of US Army is Italian.

  • 9th Proviso: exception for farm workers, mostly Mexicans.


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U.S. Limits Immigration

  • 1918-1921: Red scare aggravates fear & anti-immigrant reaction.

  • 1921-1924: Quota Law – 1st time numerical limits; uses 1910 proportion, favoring north Europeans.

  • Border Patrol created; Mexican border becomes a tangible reality, though still permeable.


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U.S. Limits Immigration

1924 Immigration Act severely limits

because

  • Racial superiority of Anglo Saxons

  • Immigrants cause lowering of wages

  • Do not assimilate

  • Threat to national identity & unity

  • Limits immigrants to 2% of their national group in 1890, thus against south & east Europeans


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Mexican immigrants recruited

  • 1900-1910: 49,000 immigrants enter,

    50% are Mexicans.

  • 1920: 500,000 Mexicans emigrated

    • Poverty & unrest in Mexico before 1910

    • Restrictions on Japanese, like Chinese

    • Demand for labor in RR, agric, mines

    • Waiver of $5 head tax

    • Seen as temporary, not staying

    • Will work in undesirable jobs & locations


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Mexican immigrants deportedDepression

  • Mexican immigration slows to trickle

  • Emigration exceeds immigration 3-1

  • Violent reaction against Mexicans as cities & states round up and deport them

  • Many leave on own out of fear

  • In 15 month period in 1931, 2 million Mexicans leave.


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“Pull” of Mexican immigrants

  • WWII: (1942-1964) Treaty with Mexico to contract workers (Bracero Program)

    • Private contracts but feds help recruit

    • US demand initially small, but soon outstrips visas so in early 1950s growers recruit undocumented.

    • 1942-1946: 4.6 million braceros admitted

    • 1950: 67,000 braceros to 450,000 in 1956

    • Same time: 5.2 million illegal immigrants arrested.


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“Pull” of Mexican Immigrants

  • US knew Bracero program would foment illegal immigration e.g., cut Border Patrol

  • Undocumented benefit government & private sector.

    • Government need not pay cost of $450/worker

    • Owners save $25 bond on each, $15 contracting fee & other restrictions.

  • Early 1950’s: Prosperity pulls poor Puerto Ricans (U.S. citizens) & others.


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Historic “Pull” & Limiting

Recession increases arrests in 1950-1956:

  • 1934-43: 10,000/year

  • 1944-54: 277,000/year

  • 1954: 1,090,000 (Operation Wetback)

  • 1956: 30,000

  • Illegal immigration issue disappears


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History of Immigration

  • European immigration slows in early 1950s due to McCarthyism scare.

  • 1952: McCarran-Walter Act against communist subversives:

    - Creates INS & moves it from Labor to Justice

    - Establishes 4 category preference system

    • 50% to more educated

    • 50% to 3 preferences for family of citizens & residents – 1st time


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History of Immigration

  • 1959: U.S. receives large numbers of Cuban refugees.

  • 1960-65: JFK & LBJ try to eliminate discriminatory national quotas


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Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

  • 1964: Civil Rights movement highlights abuses of braceros

  • 1965: Amendment to Civil Rights

    • Asian immigration restrictions eliminated

    • Asians immigrants explode in 70s & 80s: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & bring families.

    • Together with Latinos = 85% of all immigrants till 1990s


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Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

  • Readjusts quota system 20,000 for each non-Western country regardless of size

    • 170,000 visas for Eastern Hemisphere,

    • 75% for family of citizens y LPRs

  • Only 120,000 for Western Hemisphere, which creates backlog of Mexicans

  • 1965-1976: 300,000 backlog of West requests

    • Annually Mexicans used 40,000 of 120,000 visas

    • US wrongly gave 150,000 Western visas to Cubans


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Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

  • 1975: Law disallows woman with child born in U.S. to apply for LPR; child may apply when 21.

  • 1976: US cuts Mexican visas to 20,000

    • 3rd preference of married sons/daughters of citizens = 10 years

    • 4th preference of bros/sisters = 12 years

  • 1979: After Pres Carter appoints Fr Hesburg to commission to review policy, receives recom-mendation for employer sanctions (an idea rejected since 1870s) and broad legalization.


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    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    • 1986: Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA):

      • 2 step legalization process, legalizing 2.5 million (“amnesty”), less than expected, who fulfill restrictive criteria.

      • Employer sanctions

      • Outlaws unfair immigration related employment practices


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    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    • 1996: Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) hastily passed on eve of threatened government shutdown (9/30).

      • Harshest law in U.S. history

        • Retroactively increased grounds of deportability

        • Greatly limited judicial review & political asylum

        • Mandated 10-year bar to return for residing illegally in U.S. for a year or more.

        • Permanent bar for false claim to U.S. citizenship

        • Greatly restricted waivers.


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    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    • 2001: Pres Fox receives standing ovation when calls for broad legalization before joint Congress

    • 9/11: Hope-filled meeting between Fox and Pres Bush for 9/13 canceled. They never meet.

    • Severe tightening of immigration procedures

      • 2003: Homeland Security takes over INS role

      • Immigration takes on anti-terrorism flavor

      • All applications take much longer to process


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    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    • 2005: Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduces controversial bill, passes House in 7 days:

      • Felony to aid undocumented people

      • Felony to enter U.S. illegally

      • Felony to overstay or violate a visa

    • March 10, May 1 2006 & 2007: Largest demonstrations in U.S. history

    • 1/2007: Strive bill introduced as more

    • compassionate alternative, but strong opposition from the right, forces Senate to drop efforts in summer. Senate passes stronger enforcement.


    Contradictions of push pull limiting28 l.jpg
    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    • 2005: Harsher rulings on waivers

      • Of 300,000 applications for Cancellation of Removal, 99% denied and there is no appeal.

      • Those applying fulfill the following:

        • In U.S. for 10 uninterrupted years before arrest

        • A person of good character, no crime

        • Has spouse, parent or child who is US citizen or PLR

        • Would suffer extreme hardship if deported.


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    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    Increased enforcement in 2007

    • Congress approves 700 miles of fence, more $ for border patrol officers and technology

    • Deportations escalate, 270,000 in FY 07, most in history.

    • More detention space funded, detention soars to 27,000.

    • Minutemen created as vigilante force.


    Contradictions of push pull limiting30 l.jpg
    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    • 2005: Harsher rulings on waivers

      • Of 300,000 applications for Cancellation of Removal, 99% denied and there is no appeal.

      • Those applying fulfill the following:

        • In U.S. for 10 uninterrupted years before arrest

        • A person of good character, no crime

        • Has spouse, parent or child who is US citizen or PLR

        • Would suffer extreme hardship if deported.


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    Contradictions of Push, Pull & Limiting

    Municipalities & states pass strict laws:

    • Oklahoma: harshest law making any aid to illegal immigrants a crime. Tulsa Archbishop denounces it.

    • Waukegan & many other cities require police to ask for ID and if none, to turn over persons to ICE.

    • Arizona law fines and then cancels business licenses of those caught hiring undocumented people.


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    The Future?

    • 2007: Save Act stays alive in House, focusing on enforcement only.

    • 2008: Presidential campaign creates limited debate:

      • Democrats shy from the issue

      • Republicans emphasize enforcement


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    Rise in # of legal immigrants

    • 1950s: 2.5 million

    • 1960s: 3.3 million

    • 1970s: 4.5 million

    • 1980s: 7.3 million

    • 1990s: 9.1 million – biggest decade


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