Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 month ago

My forebearers sailed to the United States, got off a ship, and were automatically considered “legally” here. Why is it now so hard to come?


To be clear, I actually meant what I said.  They were “automatically” considered here “legally.”  I’m obviously not talking about Ellis Island.

8 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    Times change and laws change.

  • 1 month ago

    I'm not sure when your 'forebearers' came to the US, but the US has had at least some restrictions on immigration since 1790. (The Naturalization Act of 1790). 

    Over the years, the rules have changed. It's not so much whether it's "hard" or "easy" to come to the US, rather there are a number of immigration categories and you either qualify or you don't. 

    One of the reasons why immigration is limited today is because of the ease of international travel. In the 1700's we didn't have hundreds of international flights per day going back and forth, and the US was wide open terrain (except for the fact that Native Americans lived on much of it, but that's another issue). So, if you could make it to our shores, you were "legal". Today you have to meet certain criteria. 

  • 1 month ago

    There are billions of people who come to the US to illegally, and they are illegal aliens. The concept of deportment doesn't work, and throwing them in jail doesn't work. The only reality is to make it difficult for them to get services unless they have permission from the government, or apply and get citizenship. It is not difficult, only time consuming.

    You can study at the public library, most even give classes. So you get the answers.I think the test can be given in a foreign language too.

    Most importantly, you must revoke any pledge you made to any other country and make the Pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, which most terrorists would not do.

  • 1 month ago

    There is a difference between an explorer and an immigrant. There is a difference between a pioneer and an immigrant. There is a difference between a settler and an immigrant. There is a difference between a conqueror and an immigrant.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    What year(s) are you asking about?  Prior to Ellis Island?

    Otherwise, not true.

  • Foofa
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No they weren't, not if they went through Ellis Island, Angel Island or any of the other immigration reception centers. They were checked for communicable diseases and in some cases had to prove either a skill or a sponsor to assure they didn't become public burdens. The standards for immigration used to be lower because the industrial age workforce required a lot of low skilled workers. Our current economy relies on higher skilled workers and we already create enough low skilled workers domestically (which didn't used to be the case because people tended to stay on their family farms and not go to the cities to man factories). But the US still has nearly the lowest immigration standards within the developed world. Getting into any EU nation is much harder. This is probably why we admit far more legal immigrants each year than any other nation. 

  • 1 month ago

    Times were different then. The U.S. needed workers and accepted anyone that wanted to come. Now, we have a small surplus of workers. We also provide immigrants with healthcare and numerous other benefits that we did not provide in the past.

  • 1 month ago

    That stopped being true before the Civil War.

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