Presidents on Immigration – Past, Present, Future – Smart Borders Blog

This is a great post I found looking for information on President Kennedy’s book A Nation of Immigrants. I recently checked the book out from my local library and will provide some wonderful quotes soon. It is truly a wonderful book detailing how this country has not done a good job embracing its immigrant roots.

Presidents on Immigration – Past, Present, Future – Smart Borders Blog

On this President’s Day, let us recall our long and storied past Presidential stances on immigration. The Fourteenth Amendment of 1868, which codified national citizenship policy for “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” has allowed many immigrant children to live with rights for which their parents must win the “lottery” (quota system). Countless children I teach each day have the Fourteenth Amendment to thank for their status in Brownsville, Texas. President Andrew Johnson dragged his heels against this and all the other Civil Rights Bills, much to his Republican party’s dismay; however, the bills were passed and continue to stand as some of the most important immigration legislation today.


1 thought on “Presidents on Immigration – Past, Present, Future – Smart Borders Blog”

  1. The saddest part of reading A Nation of Immigrants is realizing that Kennedy’s dream still remains unrealized 40+ years later. The quota system JFK rails against has not been seriously altered since 1920. And although JFK was a proponent of meritocratic immigration policies, liberalized refugee and asylum seeker qualification, and increased family reunification policies, this still is yet to be seen.

    The United States, being one of the few countries without socialized medicine, could still realistically open its doors to a number of new immigrants per year. It all depends on the way we come to view people – as liabilities and wards of our care, or as JFK saw them, as assets, the latter being the proof of 232 years of American history.

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