U.S. Immigration Policy – A History of Success and Controversy

United States immigration policy has always been a subject of controversy. Politicians, citizens and special interest groups frequent argue if more or fewer individuals should be permitted to migrate to the United States, How should the hotly debated issue of illegal entrants be handled? For this article, a group of Houston Translation Services workers who provide birth certificate translation services to U.S. visa applicants shine light upon this problem by briefly summarizing United States immigration history and policy. In later articles, their writings will provide a basic overview the economic effects of immigration and considers a few of the subtle costs and benefits associated with the international movements of labor.

According to some Phoenix translation services workers, during the first 140 years of American history, immigration to the U.S. was essentially unrestricted by public policy. Few historians and economists would argue that this infusion of foreign labor was a significant factor U.S. economic growth. While the number of immigrants was significant at that time, the first World War and a number of immigration laws were enacted in the 1920’s sharply curtailed the numbers of new immigrants. Yet these certified translation workers note that after World War II, U.S. immigration policy was made more open and the country experienced increases of approximately 250,000 legal immigrants in the 1950’s, 320,000 in the 1960’s, 500,000 in the 1970’s and more than a million in the preceding decades. Of course, the increased immigration expanded business opportunities or immigration lawyers and translation companies that provide certified and notarized translation services.

Yet, despite the success of legal immigration policies, estimates suggest that in recent years, as many as 500,000 illegal aliens may enter the United States each year, most coming from Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. Despite this large influx of illegals, the total number of illegal immigrants in the United States may only be on the order of 3.5 to 5 million. Current immigration laws specify that only 270,000 migrants may enter the United States each year, with a ceiling of 20,000 from any one country. In addition, family reunification provisions allow United States citizens to bring in an unlimited number of immediate relatives-spouses, children, and parents. Furthermore, the law allows an additional 50,000 political refugees to enter each year. The President and Congress can adjust this refugee figure upwards and have frequently done so.

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