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Immigrant Cycle Familiar To United States

Published on Sat, Jul 03, 2010

"When we look at history, you see that immigration goes up in times of economic prosperity and down when the economy is not doing so well," said Michele Waslin, senior policy analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center. The influx spurred opposition from many citizens, who said Irish immigrants were taking Americans' jobs and opposed the immigrants' religion. Politicians demanded laws to make it harder for foreigners to become U.S. citizens.

In 1875, the U.S. passed its first restrictive immigration law. It prevented prostitutes and convicts from entering the country.

"Throughout history, it is the laws that really define who is legal and who is illegal," Waslin said. "At different parts of U.S. history, different groups have been illegal depending on what law there was at the time."

Published in the Arizona Republic | Read Article