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Look back at America’s history of granting Amnesty to Europeans

I thought I’d share one of the most often quoted portion of my post  defending the Dream Act after it failed the first time this past summer:

[T]hough many Americans assume their ancestors came here legally, many immigrated under different standards.  When many families arrived in the U.S., there were no numerical limitations on immigration, no requirements to have an existing family or employment relationship with someone in the U.S., and no requirement to obtain a visa prior to arriving.  As numerical limitations were instituted and certain immigrants were restricted from entering the U.S., illegal immigration increased.

The definition of who was “legal” and who was “illegal” changed with the evolution of immigration laws.

In fact, many American families might not have been allowed to enter the United States if today’s requirements were applied to their ancestors.

Further, throughout history early immigrants, many from Europe, benefitted from a form of amnesty that was really just lenient and subjective application of the immigration laws.  The Immigration Policy Center writes:

Acknowledging the large numbers of illegal Europeans in the U.S., the government devised ways for them to remain in the U.S. legally.  *Deserving* illegal European immigrants could benefit from various programs and legalize their status.  The 1929 Registry Act allowed *honest law-abiding alien[s] who may be in the country under some merely technical irregularity* to register as permanent residents for a fee of $20 if they could prove they had lived in the U.S. since 1921 and were of *good moral character.*  Roughly 115,000 immigrants registered between 1930 and 1940—80% were European or Canadian.  Between 1925 and 1965, 200,000 illegal Europeans legalized their status through the Registry Act, through *pre-examination*—a process that allowed them to leave the U.S. voluntarily and re-enter legally with a visa (a *touch-back* program)—or through discretionary rules that allowed immigration officials to suspend deportations in *meritorious* cases.  Approximately 73% of those benefiting from suspension of deportation were Europeans (mostly Germans and Italians).

Read the Entire Post on my blog Politics of Raising Children at The Washington Times

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