History of Immigration Laws in the US and the West
PASSPORT, or safe conduct in time of war, a document granted by a belligerent power to protect persons and property from the operation of hostilities. In its more familiar sense a passport is a document authorizing a person to pass out of or into a country, or a licence or safe-conduct to. The person specified therein and authenticating his right to aid and protection. Although most foreign countries may now be entered without passports, the English foreign office recommends travellers to furnish themselves with them, as affording a ready means of identification in case of need.
Now, close your eyes and imagine a world where you could travel to any country without having to carry with yourself any means of identification, whether passport, visa, or ID card. (Actually, try to imagine a world where you can drive in your own home state without any means of identification, driver’s license or anything else. If you can.) Imagine a world where you don’t have to meet the perverts of the TSA, police thugs, border control bureaucrats, corrupt and greedy customs officers, etc. Imagine a world where the government has no means to track your movement, and if they want to stop a criminal from going somewhere, the burden of proof is on them: they need to first provide the court with an incontrovertible proof of committed crime, and then do the arrest in such a way that no innocent person’s rights are violated—no road blocks, no rounding up innocent people to check their papers, etc. Imagine a world in which you can freely carry your weapons with you on a plane or a ship, or any substance you want, or any kind of valuables, without any fear that some government crook somewhere may have decided that certain substances or valuables can’t cross borders. Imagine a world where you can buy a house or do business or get a job in any place in the world and never see a government bureaucrat, or never need to see one; or never have to have ID for any of the activities you have chosen.
That, my friends, was the world our ancestors lived in a little over 100 years ago. The quote I gave you was from Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911. In 1911, a person could travel the world without a passport. If they decided to furnish themselves with a passport, it was to protect them from government thugs, not to make it easier for government thugs to track their movements. Read some fiction of a century ago, and pay attention to the way they traveled: they never had to meet customs officers, border control, or experience any other violation of their rights. A German could get on a ship to Mexico, cross over to the Pacific side, take another ship to California, become a gold-digger, amass a fortune, take his gold and his guns he bought in the US, and get back to Germany by the same route, and he wouldn’t have to declare neither his gold nor his guns at any border, nor show any passport, nor even use his real name anywhere. As long as there was no one to accuse him of any crime to any government, he was left free and unmolested to travel, work, do business, establish contact, etc. That was the world left to us as legacy from our Christian ancestors.
The claims of our modern pagans today that it was a world of tyranny and oppression are ridiculous. Calvin fled Paris after the so-called Affair of the Placards in 1534, and safely crossed several borders to get to Basel, an outlaw to the French government. In the course of the next several years he freely traveled between Basel in Switzerland, Ferrara in Italy, and Strasbourg in Germany, and he was even back in Paris, still unarrested and unmolested by the French authorities. Two centuries later, Voltaire, under the French so-called “absolutist” monarchy, banned from Paris because his plays earned the wrath of the King himself, settled in Geneva. Geneva had a ban on theatrical performances at the time, so Voltaire would cross the French border regularly and stage his plays in Ferney, on the French side of the border! Just compare this to what Edward Snowden had to go through when he righteously exposed our wicked, tyrannical government in DC. We have liberty today? We don’t know a thing about liberty today, compared to our ancestors in the past. Next time you see a government employee, thank him for your slavery. (In fact, next time you see a voter, do the same.)
Even as late as the 1930s English and American journalists and writers liked to make fun of the German phrase, “Your papers, please.” As free Christian men, they couldn’t grasp why a government would force its citizens to spend money to get a passport so that the government tracks their movement. Of course, they still thought in terms of the old Christian morality, that the ability to move and travel was a basic human right not to be trampled by any government; in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, it was a privilege granted by the state. As late as the 1960s the Rhodesian Air Services still advised their passengers before a flight to have their revolvers unloaded, their automatic pistols on safety and holstered safely away from children, and their rifles and shotguns unloaded and placed in the overhead compartment. (And Rhodesia at the time wasn’t the backward racist socialist pagan corrupt gangster country modern Zimbabwe is, it was a modern, developed, free Christian nation, the economic miracle of the world, keeping a steady pace of economic growth of 7% a year in the midst of world recession.)
Yes, this is the world we lost, a legacy of more than a millennium of Christendom, of a Christian civilization that started on the ruins of a self-destructed pagan civilization to develop into a civilization that ruled the world, and brought the Biblical ideals of liberty and justice for all to all corners of the world. The story of why we lost it, and why we are back to a Barbarian world of government oppression is a longer story. Suffice to say here just briefly, the fault lies with us, Christians, for abandoning the comprehensive message of the Kingdom of God and focusing our attention on the salvation of our little precious souls, effectively excluding from our preaching more than 99% of the Gospel of Christ which has to do with subjecting all things to Christ. The fault lies with us that we have allowed our pulpits in our churches and seminaries to be filled with men who have preached and administered theological vasectomy in the church, shrinking the faith of the church to a few propositions of personal salvation and moralism, effectively abandoning the world to the enemy. But this is the topic of another lecture, and another conference.
What we want to do here is find out about the history of immigration laws in Christendom, of laws that governments passed to control and track the movements of individuals and groups of people across borders.
It is commonly acknowledged today by historians that part of the success of the Gospel in the early days of the church were the Roman roads on land, and their marine equivalent, developed technologies for navigation and safe sea lanes free from pirates. Just a couple generations before Christ Julius Caesar employed the might of Rome to completely destroy all the pirate fleets and nests in the Mediterranean. So complete was his victory that the effects of it lasted for 7 centuries; it wasn’t until the emergence of Islam that pirating became a threat to shipping again. His successor, Caesar Augustus, took up the enormous task of building roads for an empire that had grown beyond anything the world had known by that time. The road building office was raised to the level of imperial ministry. In fact, even though we have no direct information of the government budget at the time, given the extensive road building in Augustus’s time, it may have well been the largest item in the government budget during his reign, larger than the military expenses of the Empire. In addition to building government roads, an ancient Roman Law was revived in the Empire, that travelers could freely cross through private land if there was no road on it, built and maintained by the property owner. This encouraged large landowners to build and maintain private roads where there were no imperial roads. So extensive was the road system that Dionysius of Halicarnassus, writing his Roman Antiquities to reconcile his fellow Greeks to the Roman rule, sets apart the Roman road system as one of the three great accomplishments proving the greatness of Rome, together with the aqueducts and the sewers system.
The roads wouldn’t be of a great use for commerce, or for the Gospel, if the Romans didn’t also remove all legal barriers to travel. What before had been a fragmented world of numerous little states with immigration restrictions against each other, and populations tossed around by royal edicts (remember how Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians re-settled whole nations), under Rome became a vast territory of safe and unrestricted travel. The Romans didn’t do it because they valued the individual or believed in individual liberty, that’s for sure. But whatever their motives were, the policy helped the Gospel spread like wildfire, in the face of opposition from both the Jews and the Roman state.
It is for this reason that Paul was able to travel over 10,000 miles over the course of 20 years—at least what is documented in Acts, who knows how many other undocumented journeys he made. That would make it 1.6 miles every day, if we take out the Sabbaths. Or, given the average speed of traveling at the time, he spent 3 hours average per day outside the protection of cities. Which makes it a total of 2.5 years outside cities. And we have not a single account of him being attacked by robbers. Paul’s appeal to Caesar in Acts 25 is taken as something casual and normal, and we don’t see any concerns raised about the difficulties of the journey to Rome.
It was later, when the Roman state became more fascist, that restrictions on travel and settling were imposed, first on foreigners, and then between the different provinces. The one-time census described in Luke 2:1 became, in the later days of the Empire, an extensive policy of restricting the movement of whole classes of people for the purpose of farming tax revenues for the state. By that time, the Gospel had reached every place in the known world, and had even reached the Barbarians outside the borders. An open world was an open world for the Gospel, and the Gospel took full advantage of it. Other religious, ideological, and political influences were also able to take such advantage, and they did. But at the end, the only lasting influence was the Gospel. In a world of no borders and free movement, it is the Gospel that triumphs over its rivals.
It was a lesson well-learned by the early Christians. So well learned, that when Christianity established its hold on Europe after AD 500, for almost 14 centuries Christendom did not institute any policy restricting immigration. Shutting down borders was left to the Barbaric pagan world. The pagan world had a reason to be afraid of free travel and immigration, for it was the Gospel that was the superior spiritual force. China remained a closed society for most of its history, limiting not only immigration of foreigners but trade with foreigners as well. Japan used its geographical position to establish immigration restrictions of almost complete isolation from the rest of the world. The paranoia of China and Japan of anything foreign could be rivaled only by the paranoia of the Greek city states, or by the paranoia of modern American church-goers. Trade restrictions were instituted by the Muslim world for Christian traders—which later led to the attempts by Portuguese navigators to find a sea passage to India. The pagan tribes to the north and northwest of Christian Europe wouldn’t allow any stranger on their territory, much like what missionaries testified of the Amazonian tribes in the 20th century.
In contrast, Christian Europe opened its borders to immigration, confident in the power of the message of the Gospel. The Byzantine empire allowed pagan tribes to settle within the borders of the Empire and let them organize their own areas of tribal jurisdiction. To those who became Christians, it opened possibilities for political participation. (At least one of the emperors was of Khazar nationality.) The trust in the power of the Christian message and the Christian culture was justified: politically, the empire disintegrated; but religiously, it left behind a strong legacy of Christian culture. So strong, in fact, that several centuries of concentrated efforts by the Ottoman authorities to eradicate it proved fruitless, and eventually the Sultans gave up. In the western part of Christendom, the legal principle was established, that the non-political members of the society—those who were not nobility, soldiers, or servants of rulers—should be safe from political harassment, including border restrictions. This led to some curious moments when, after wars or plagues, different principalities actually competed to attract freely traveling peasant families to settle on their lands. The restrictions of the time were economic, not political, and an economically free person was allowed to travel anywhere he pleased.
It is amazing for us today to read accounts of people who were declared outlaws, and yet were able to travel extensively without being arrested, some changing their names to conceal their identity. It was taken for granted in Christian Europe that government agents couldn’t stop a person just on mere suspicion. Within the course of 1,000 years, Christian Europe was transformed from a pagan/Barbarian place to a civilized culture where the individual had rights like nowhere else.
The Reformation and the wars of the Reformation created another legal precedent and concept related to immigration, one taken directly from the Law of God: Cities of refuge (from Numbers 35). It is seldom understood today that the Reformers looked at Christendom in general as a civilization of refuge, and therefore of the Reformed nations as nations of refuge first and foremost. Much has been written by ignorant or biased historians about Geneva of Calvin as a “religious” city where religious zealots reigned unopposed. The truth is, for most of Calvin’s stay in Geneva, the government was in the hands of Calvin’s theological opponents, the libertines, who were practical atheists. Geneva was ridiculed and attacked by the Romanists not for its “tyranny,” as ignorant people today like to believe, but for its excessive liberties! And why did Geneva have excessive liberties? Because Genevans considered their city not a bastion of the Reformation but a city of refuge, a safe ground for those who were fleeing economic distress, political turmoil, plagues, etc. This is why for the period of Calvin’s stay in Geneva the population of the city increased 4 to 5-fold: mathematically, this would be an increase of 7 to 8% per year in the course of over 20 years. To compare, for the same period the population of Europe decreased by between a fourth and a third of the total, due to wars, plagues, and harsh climate conditions.
The other Reformed nations didn’t stay idle, either. The Netherlands, Scotland, England, and the Calvinist principalities in Germany were actively recruiting immigrants to come to their countries. The fate of the French Huguenots is well-known, and their immigration to the Netherlands, England, and North and South Carolina. Less known is the startling open invitation these Reformed countries issued to the persecuted Jewish communities in Spain and France; startling by the standards of the time, at least. (Remember, as late as the 1930s, the socialist/fascist government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused entry to Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, effectively delivering them to death.) Oliver Cromwell’s opponents spread the rumor of him being of Jewish descent on account of his policy of open borders, of which the Jews took the greatest advantage. One of the original drives for establishing colonies in the New World was to make them “cities of refuge,” as the story of both the Pilgrims and the Puritans in Massachusetts reveals.
Emma Lazarus’s sentiment in her “New Colossus” was the sentiment inherited from previous generations of her Jewish ancestors who found refuge in Reformed lands:
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 lift my lamp beside the golden door.
The “city of refuge” concept, of course, was closely related to the most important of all Reformed social concepts, the “city on a hill.” It would take another lecture to explain why it is the most important concept of the Reformation, and how it influenced the founding of America, and how we lost it. In short, the idea of building a society that exhibits God’s justice and mercy was central to the teachings and the practice of the Reformers and their spiritual heirs. But if the Reformed communities would become a city on a hill, beacons of God’s liberty and justice for all, it was natural to expect that the “glory and the honor of the nations” will be brought in this city (see Revelation 21:24-26), and “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free” would be eager to settle in it. A city on a hill whose gates are closed is the dungeon of a tyrant, not the celebration halls of the King of kings. The gates of the Reformed communities, therefore, were to remain open to everyone who had the heart and the will to come in.
The history of the last four centuries supplied abundant proofs for the success of this view. Contrary to the foolish fears of modern American Christians, open gates don’t attract criminals and lazy people; it is the moral, industrious, entrepreneurial type of person who is willing to undertake to move to a better place for better safety and better opportunities for his children. The argument is the same as the argument about gun control: when guns are banned, only the criminals have guns; when guns are allowed, to every criminal there is a number of honest people who can shoot back. In the same way, when borders are shut down, only criminals cross them; when borders are open, to every criminal there are multitudes of honest workers and entrepreneurs who would want to come in and settle. The Reformed communities who opened their gates for the flood of immigrants, Christian or non-Christian, prospered abundantly within a generation after having been the economic backwater of Europe. Protestant Netherlands profited so greatly from the “uncontrolled” immigration that the country that in 1540 was a few fishing villages in the swamps of a corner of the Hapsburg’s possessions, within a generation, by 1580, was the economic, social, and military miracle of the world.
It was this concept that was at the foundation of the early colonial views in America concerning immigration. The colonists opposed immigration restrictions as a violation of their liberties. The Royal ban on colonizing the Appalachians and beyond the Appalachians was ignored and disobeyed by the early American colonists in large numbers. In a sense, most of the soldiers in the Continental Army were, by the modern statist lingo, “illegal immigrants.” (If they were decent people, they would have obeyed the immigration laws of the King, right?) We can’t understand the Fourth of July and the meaning of the American Revolution if we do not consider the fact that these people violated the Royal laws because they believed them to be unjust. And one of those laws was the ban on immigration.
Amazingly, the proof for it is in the very Declaration of Independence which conservatives claim to honor as one of the founding documents of the United States:
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Modern conservatives pay lip service to these words, and then turn around and demand from today’s government the same thing that the colonists fought against. (This is called intellectual schizophrenia.) Immigration was considered vital to the vision of a city on a hill; the Patriots—and especially the Calvinist Presbyterian crowd—wanted not simply immigration, they wanted laws to encourage immigration.
The US Constitution didn’t give any branch of the Federal government the right to control immigration. It did charge Congress to pass laws to regulate naturalization, that is, the right of foreigners to political suffrage. It was understandable, given the fact that immigration was a right, and a religious necessity for a city on a hill. Political suffrage was a privilege. Not everyone could vote. But everyone could come and prosper.
And indeed, between the War of Independence and 1882 there was no major attempt by Congress to control or regulate immigration. In compliance with the Constitution, Congress passed in 1790 – a year after the forming of the United States under a single Federal government—the Naturalization Act, regulating not immigration but the right to citizenship. Much can be said about this act and its discriminatory character: it allowed an immigrant to receive citizenship after a stay of two years, but it excluded blacks, American Indians, and Asians, as well as slaves and indentured servants. It was amended multiple times between 1790 and 1921 to fix some problems, or create new problems. Essentially, though, it did not limit nor control immigration; the old Christian Reformed concept of city of refuge remained at the foundations of America’s immigration policy for about a century. In fact, in a few cases immigration was encouraged, and in the 1840s and the 1850s, while the conflict between the Northern and the Southern states was forming and picking up speed, both sides worked frantically to attract immigrants. By 1860 the North had obvious advantage over the South in numbers; the South had failed to attract enough immigrants to preserve the demographic balance. The influx of immigrants provided the North not only with enough human resources to man the Northern armies but also with the necessary labor force to man the growing industrial base. Not to mention that more immigrants meant more people with new and daring ideas, entrepreneurial spirit, and the skills to organize production to levels unheard-of before. To win the war, the North needed to enlist only about 20% of its adult male population, against 80% and more of the population of the South. And, significantly, the North came out of that war much better developed industrially. In 1870, the United States was already the economic superpower of the world, due to the unique combination of Puritan work ethic and unrestricted immigration bringing in an abundance of labor and talent.
Unfortunately for the North and for the US in general, the mid-19th century was also the time the first trade unions were started. In the crowded cities of the North-East their influence picked up almost immediately, and by the 1880s the individual, fragmented, isolated trade union groups started uniting for action. Part of their struggle was legitimate, economic, in providing the individual worker some kind of leverage for his protection. They started and organized mutual assistance foundations, training courses, retirement funds, etc., in addition to collective bargaining. Part of their struggle, though, was political and immoral. And their first target in their political struggle were not their employers nor the banks who provided the capital for growth, but the competition in the face of foreign immigrants. Mainly Chinese.
By 1882, two laws were passed to exclude Chinese workers from the labor market in the US. The argument raised by the unionist activists and the first Marxists in the US was the familiar argument used today by conservatives: “The Chinese take our jobs, lower the wages, and are unable to assimilate in and adapt to our culture.” (Next time you hear a conservative using that argument against Mexicans, keep in mind that he is mindlessly repeating old and worn-out socialist and Marxist slogans.) There were some legitimate moral concerns, though, given the fact that the Chinese coolies were not free individuals who migrated on their own accord but actual slaves, bought in China from their feudal masters by agents of the American railroad companies. After the War Between the States such slavery was embarrassing for a government that pretended to have exterminated slavery. Another law was also passed that forbade the import of workers for any kind of business, from any region in the world, ending the practice of many industrialists of German origin of shipping hundreds of workers for their factories. None of these laws, however, banned an individual foreigner from entering the country and settling in it. They did have some negative economic effect, mainly on the railroads and the mining industry which used imported labor extensively. But they were not immigration laws. Immigration was left to the states, and since the states competed for immigrants, there was no limitation. The old religious principles, combined with the economic incentives of the industrial age, made America open its borders.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court decision of 1892, that “the US is a Christian nation,” was made in reference to an immigration case, where the Church of the Holy Trinity challenged one of these restrictive employment laws, and won. It is ironic that such a statement by the court would be made against an immigration law.
But the War Between the States only accelerated the centralization of power in the government in Washington DC, and the 1880s the Federal Government was already an active agent of its own, ready to overstep even more boundaries. Remember, the immediate occasion for the start of the War Between the States was not slavery but the issue of who will collect the tariff duties. By 1882, some smart people in Washington had realized that immigration was a huge untapped source of revenue. Since people were the main import commodity of America, there should be a tariff on it.
Thus was passed in 1882 the first true Immigration Act in the US. Its main purpose was the collection of a head tax of 50 cents for every immigrant. To make it not so blatant that the act was centered on collecting revenue for the Federal government, some proforma stipulations were added, declaring certain persons, called LPC, or “likely public charge” to be ineligible for immigration: convicts, lunatics, idiots, and persons unable to care for themselves. Paying homage to the Christian values of the past, the Act specifically stated that the category “convict” excludes those who were convicted of political offenses, reflecting the traditional American belief that the United States is a haven for those persecuted by foreign tyrants.
The main purpose of the Act, of course, was the creation of the first massive Federal immigration bureaucracy, and the creation of a source of revenue for the federal government that couldn’t be challenged or influenced by the states. The immigration policy administration created by that act became the forefather of many modern agencies, from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA. The head tax was increased from 50 cents in 1882 to $8 in 1917 (in a period of gold standard and a deflation of the currency of about 7% total). For most of those 35 years only the revenues from immigration (excluding all other revenues) exceeded abundantly all the costs for running the Federal government. The immigrants were a cash cow for the statist agenda of Washington DC.
Since the law was rather focused on revenue than controlling immigration, it did little to restrict it. For the next 30 years the population of the United States would triple from over 30 million to 100 million. This was an unprecedented situation in history: never before and never after has any nation seen such wild demographic growth. And, contrary to the foolish prejudices of modern conservatives, this unprecedented growth coincided with the period of the wildest economic growth in the history of the world. Never before, and never after has a nation seen such steep rise to economic prosperity and domination over the world’s economy.
There was a problem, though. And the problem was that the influx of immigrants at the rate of 2 per 1 citizen created a great diversity in the population that was undesirable. Undesirable for whom? For a small political and intellectual elite from New England (the Yankeeland) who had adopted the ideas of Darwin and of the French racist Gobineau (praised by Marx and Engels for his racist “studies”), and had made their goal to deepen and expand the political centralization of the United States as a means to ensuring the survival of the white race against the “inferior races.”
The ideologue of the new immigration policies was one Prescott F. Hall, a Boston lawyer who in 1894 became the founder and the first secretary of the Immigration Restriction League. A short but comprehensive review of all his interests and views must be presented here in order to understand how we got our first truly restrictive immigration laws.
Hall’s views were a crude early form of everything that would later become the official ideology of the National Socialist Party in Germany. He was a believer in the occult, and was a member of the American Society for Psychical Research, devoted to the study of paranormal phenomena. He also believed in genetic determinism, that the culture of a nation is determined by its genes; therefore, genetic pollution would lead to cultural and social degeneration. He was therefore a proponent of eugenics, the pseudoscience which led to legislation for forced sterilization of certain classes in the American society. He viewed the perfect society as a genetically homogenous society in which a superior race of genetically pure humans establish a culture corresponding to their genetic constitution, unpolluted by other genetic constitutions. He was also an ardent proponent of centralized government education, an admirer of Horace Mann, and an activist for the National Education Association. He was also an evolutionist, believing in the struggle for survival as the major motive for all social relations and conflicts. He believed that the world would become richer if the superior racial character becomes dominant. Here’s a quote from his essays on immigration:
The Mediterranean races, unlike the Nordic, look to the State for progress instead of to individual enterprise. The Semitic consciousness, as expressed in men like St. Paul, Spinoza, Marx and Bergson, is the champion of abstract universals as contrasted with Nordic concreteness. A nation of many races has no longer one soul, one spirit. Its integrity can be destroyed not only through heredity by cross-breeding, but in a slower way by a change in the environment through the mere presence of alien elements. Gobineau long ago pointed out that the doctrine that all men are equal is announced only by mixed races. . . .
It is ironic, of course, that 100 years after he wrote this, the only truly socialist indoctrination centers teaching only abstract universals in the world would be the universities of the Yankeeland, manned almost entirely by “Nordic” professors, Ironically, as he was writing these lines, the Swedish Social Democratic Party was being formed, later to become the ruling party in Sweden for more than two generations, turning the “Nordic” nation into a herd dependent on the state for their progress. At the same time, a generation of Jewish (Semitic) professors were laying the foundations for the Austrian Economic School, the most thorough defense of individualism and private initiative ever written in the history of economics. If Theodore Roosevelt was the American fascist among the politicians, Prescott Hall was his ideologue. And the public political voice for the Immigration Restriction League was Henry Cabot Lodge, a friend of Theodore Roosevelt, and fervent American Nationalist.
In 1921 and in 1924 two immigration laws were passed, the Emergency Quota Act and the National Origins Act which introduced quotas, and with the quotas, introduced full control over immigration by the Federal Government, in violation of the Constitution which gave Congress power only over the naturalization of foreigners. The laws were deeply racist. The “quotas” were actually percentage quotas for different genetic regions of the world. Homogenizing America genetically was seen by the statists at the time as the necessary prerequisite to establishing a centralized government over all America. People of different genetics would only create greater confusion, and will thwart the efforts towards more centralization.
If you have read the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, it was inspired in part by the official political ideology in the US in the 1930s, influenced by the views of Prescott Hall and his fellow-ideologists. The novel describes exactly the kind of world Hall would want. The other influence was Herbert George Wells, the famous British science fiction writer who had the same views on races and immigration as Hall. We also need to emphasize that Wells was a committed Fabian Socialist, and the Fabian Society was originally Darwinian and racist to the core. Another connection there would be Margaret Sanger, another Fabian Socialist, racial supremacist, and activist for abortion as a means for exterminating the undesirable races. Such was the origin of the first real immigration laws in the United States.
After the defeat of Hitler’s Germany, racially-based immigration laws became an embarrassment for America, so right after the war work started on a change in the immigration policies. The change was not meant to return the US to the original formula of open borders, though. Once the Federal government grabs a certain lever of power, it never relinquishes it. The attempt was to find a new formula for continuing Federal control over immigration in the post-Hitler world. The resulting Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was just as much a violation of the Constitution in that Congress affirmed its control over immigration, which was not one of its Constitutional prerogatives: Immigration was left to the States and the people, only naturalization was left to Congress. It retained the national origins formula but the ideology was changed, from racist/genetic to fascist/collectivist. The previous laws regarded people as genetic animals. This law now looked at them as members of cultural blocs that are unable to be re-educated culturally because of their belonging to a collective. In his defense of the law, its architect, the Democrat lawyer and Senator Pat McCarran, said the following:
However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies.
This is how you know a socialist, or a liberal, or a fascist: They never think in terms of individuals, they always think in terms of “blocs.” Exactly the opposite to that original American spirit that gave the individuals the right to self-determination and did not demonize them for belonging to any group by choice.
No wonder that McCarran would express such sentiments. His nickname was the “Senator from Madrid.” At the time, Spain was under the regime of the fascist/militarist dictator Francisco Franco, and McCarran was an admirer of Franco. He was convinced that Franco’s system of forcing cultural uniformity on a whole nation is the superior social and political system. He spent much of his political career lobbying for foreign aid to Franco’s regime. (“If the system was superior, why did it need aid?”, we can ask.)
The act of 1952 expanded the Federal bureaucracy, for it included a provision for admitting immigrants with special skills, and it also legislated ban on immigration for people who were “fellow-travelers” of Communist parties around the world. Whole new departments were needed now to be able to determine what skills a potential immigrant has, and whether his “sympathies” (the definition for a “fellow traveler” was one who “sympathizes”) lied with some Communist party.
This openly fascist period in the US immigration policy lasted for 13 years, when another group of Democrats—Emmanuel Celler, Phillip Hart, and Ted Kennedy—gave the start to the last, socialist, period, the period that continues until now, and its policies are eagerly supported by modern so-called “conservatives” (and many church-goers) in the United States. It was entirely based on the ideology of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and the ideas of the American liberal political elite for social engineering. The Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 removed the National Origins Formula but it affirmed the firm grip of the Federal Government over immigration. The ideology of “adapting to the culture” became the ruling ideology of the US immigration policy, but what American culture was was left entirely to unelected Federal bureaucrats to decide. The Act also removed the decision locus for immigration admissions from American soil to US consulates around the world; understandably, for thus the immigration bureaucrats were now safe from any oversight and challenges by the American taxpayers. So now, unelected bureaucrats in the US determined what immigrants the government wanted, and unelected bureaucrats outside the US decided which individual immigrants would reach the US soil. Eventually, the consulates were given the power to control not only immigration but also business and personal travel.
What just a generation before was ridiculed by American journalists in Nazi Germany, the obsession with “Show me your papers,” became the established policy of the Federal government concerning non-US citizens. It would take another generation for the policy to develop and become the established policy for US citizens as well. Try to go anywhere without your papers today, as a US citizen.
As any socialist policy, it didn’t work. Immigrants continued to use loops in the system to arrive, and by the 1980s America had millions of “illegal immigrants.” (Immigration restrictions work just like gun bans and prohibitions against alcohol and drugs.) An un-Biblical and unconstitutional law was not working—as was to be expected. By the 1980s the law was under severe criticism by many conservative politicians, including Ronald Reagan. In 1981, a few months into his first term, President Reagan delivered a special statement on immigration, announcing his goal of immigration reform which would return America back to her original purpose of city on a hill (his phrase was a “shining city”). He declared that he was seeking amnesty for illegal aliens:
Illegal immigrants in considerable numbers have become productive members of our society and are a basic part of our work force. Those who have established equities in the United States should be recognized and accorded legal status.
In the 1980s, it was the liberals in this country who were fretting about “immigrants destroying our culture.” If you told a conservative at the time that immigration was dangerous to the culture, they would laugh you out of the room. Immigration to conservatives was a proof for the superiority of the American culture. Why would anyone leave their miserable conditions and come to America with the purpose of replicating the same conditions here?
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 did not meet all of Reagan’s expectations. It did give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, as Reagan wanted, but it also placed burdens on and limited the freedom of employers: They were now banned from hiring illegal immigrants, and were under obligation to report the legal status of their employees. The reason may lie in the fact that the law’s architects were two extremely liberal legislators, the Democrat Romano Mazzoli and the Republican Alan K. Simpson. (Simpson was an outspoken advocate for the legalization of abortion and sodomy.) After the end of his political career, Ronald Reagan expressed his original vision in the following words:
I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here.
Somewhere between 1989 and today, something happened to the conservative American mind. It was brainwashed to accept as a “conservative value” a policy that has always been a racist, liberal, fascist, socialist, statist policy: restricting the movement of individuals for the purposes of the state. And in the next lecture we will see what the situation is today, how it compares to the Bible, and what arguments are used by conservatives in support of it