Three-fourths of my wife's grandparents were born in Germany. They came to the United States during the golden age of immigration through Ellis Island, seeing the Statute of Liberty as something more than a abstraction; it was a symbol of a new life. Her fourth grandparent's parents were from the "old country", coming here just before Ellis Island was established.
For all of my wife's immigrant forbears, the only barrier to becoming a citizen was to get here and to go through the naturalization process. There were no "legal" or "illegal" immigrants as we know them today. There were no artificial barriers to entry, except they had to go through Ellis Island and be screened for communicable diseases and show that they had some "visible means of support", i.e. a relative or a job. All of them had that. They learned to read and speak broken English, and all of their children and grandchildren became educated, property owning, middle class producers in our society.
The 1924 Immigration Act, and successor acts changed all of that, placing limits on the immigration of certain nationalities, and multiplying the bureaucracy of what is now the INS.
Going back to my notions of U.S. history and jurisprudence, are the concepts embodied in the current immigration laws consistent with the concepts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on which our nation was founded?
Don't misunderstand. I am not suggesting that these laws are unconstitutional. I am just asking for a discussion on whether or not these laws are just and fair as they are now administered.
I would like to hear your views.