Throughout our history, the United States has benefited from the contributions of immigrants. This makes sense if you think about the type of persons and their traditional reasons for coming to this country. For at least the first 100 years, immigrants were people willing to uproot their lives and leave friends and family in order to move to a foreign land, learn a new language, and adopt different lifestyles. They did these things for a number of reasons, ranging from a quest for religious freedom to the hope of bettering the lives of their children.
Initially, most of our immigrants came from northern and western Europe. In the mid-19th century, unskilled and poorly-paid laborers from Asia came to the western states, dreaming of making their fortunes. By the late 19th century, southern and eastern Europeans entered the northeastern part of our country, mostly to escape the poverty that typified their own lands.
As the complexion of the nation began to change, Congress imposed a quota system in the 1920s, called the National Origins Act, that put severe limitations on all countries that were not located in northern and western Europe. Along with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1917, this generally prohibited the immigration of any Asians to the U.S.
Then, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, about 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans who were already here were forced into relocation camps, destroying many of their farms, businesses and former lives...