American immigration policies have changed significantly over the past 200 years, but debates over more restrictive versus more open policies have recurring themes. Should the U.S. restrict immigration to prevent its ethnic, racial, and religious character from changing? Should any immigrant who accepts American political values be welcome? Immigration Debates in America begins in the 1830s and 1840s, with campaigns against Irish-Catholic immigration. Then it turns to anti-Chinese legislation (1870s-1920s), immigration policies about Europeans (1880s-1920s), the rejection of Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany (1930s), the Mexican American border region, and Muslim immigration today.
The history examined in this book is not just about conflict, but also adaptation. Native-born Americans and new groups of immigrants repeatedly have grown accustomed to each other. The vision of who can be American has widened and become more diverse over time. By putting debates about immigration in historical context, this book can help us understand the practical and ethical considerations that shape immigration policies today