Feature Immigration

Learn more about the history of immigration in the U.S.


Extended Interview: Immigrant Historian Daniel Soyer

Elyse speaks to immigration historian Daniel Soyer.


More from Tukufu about immigration.

An inscription on the Statue of Liberty invites the tired, poor, and huddled masses to come to the United States.

In reality, immigration policies have never been quite so inclusive and inviting.

The first rules defining who was eligible for citizenship were established in 1790.

This Naturalization Act stipulated that any alien could become a citizen, provided they were free and white.

The Gold Rush brought with it a wave of Chinese laborers - and concerns about job security and racial purity.

Congress responded with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese persons from entering the country.

Some of the toughest restrictions were introduced around World War II.

The 1940 Alien Registration Act required that all 5 million non-U.S. citizens be fingerprinted and register their names with the U.S. government.

The idea that immigrants might be a danger to national security grew during the Cold War.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 gave the Justice Department the power to deport any immigrants or naturalized citizens whom they deemed were engaged in subversive activities.

Some provisions of this act were revisited in the wake of 9/11.

Tens of thousands of Muslim men have been interrogated, registered, and detained without counsel since September 2001.

And the debate about who can come to the United States - and whether they can stay - continues.