The United States has a history of turning away the world’s huddled masses, so yes, anti-immigration is an American value. Before 1890s, and more so before 1880, most immigration was from places like Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland, Scandinavia and so forth. From 1880-1920, most immigration came from Italy, Poland, Russia and other non-Northern European countries, bringing with it large numbers of Jews. The 1924 Immigration Act, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, set up a national origins quota for who could enter the United States as a reaction to this change. The law replaced the 1921 Immigration Act, which was less strict, passing the House of Representatives by 308 to 58 and the Senate 69 to 9. The 1924 law limited entry visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census; 1921’s law referred to 1910. The quota system greatly favored Northern European countries over Southern and Eastern European countries, in addition to further restricting immigration from Asia (Asian immigrants already could not become naturalized citizens in most cases).
If Congress were to pass a new immigration act revising the (((Hart-CellerAct))) of 1965, it could also use an old census to set up a new quota system. Like the old Immigration Acts, it would also be aimed at conserving the ethnic and racial character of the United States. If we take a look at this interactive map from Pew Research, we can see how immigration changed over each decade. Here’s 2010:
Notice how this has and will continue to the change the ethnic admixture of the United States, and reflects almost nothing of the what the population resembled prior to 1965. Meanwhile, here’s 1960, based off immigration from the preceding decade, which was considered the golden age of American economic and military power:
Can you imagine a plurality or majority of foreigners in DC being German? I can’t. But it used to be that way. If we were to set up new national origins quotas based on the 1960 Census, the only countries with any substantial number of visas would be Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada, and Mexico. That wouldn’t be terrible.
The president also has the authority to block whatever countries he wants and deny entry to their nationals:
“Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” —U.S. Code § 1182 (Inadmissible Aliens)
The problem with executive orders is that they can be rescinded by the next administration with the stroke of a pen. In the long-term it would be better to institutionalize immigration restrictions into the laws of the land and retain enough of a legislative majority to prevent them from being repealed. Such is the way our legal system works.
Edited 8/21/2016 01:48:13