A Short History of Immigration in the U.S.

Immigration has been one of the unique characteristics of America from the very beginning. Going back as far back as the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims in 1620 at Plymouth Rock, settlers have continued to come to the New World to flee oppression and find freedom. Immigrants have created what we know today as the United States of America, and the history of immigration to this country is rich and diverse. Today, potential immigrants can find the same freedom that others sought in the past. A San Diego immigration lawyer can help individuals seeking residency or citizenship reach their goals for a new life in this land of opportunity.

Search for Freedom & Opportunity
Ever since it was founded, the United States has been known as a land of opportunity. Even the Declaration of Independence of our country declares that all men are endowed by their Creator with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The immigrants who arrived on the shores of this new land all came searching for this freedom. Many came to find a place where they had the freedom to worship God as they chose without persecution from the state. This characterized the motives of many of the Puritan and Quaker immigrants. Many also sought opportunity for financial prosperity in various ventures. Today, many individuals who are nationals of other countries will obtain what is called an investment visa that gives them the opportunity to pursue similar money-making opportunities in the United States.

European Immigrants
The Colonial period saw a large flow of immigration into the original 13 colonies from the European continent. People from Europe, primarily of British, German, and Dutch decent began to make the long voyage and settle in one of the original colonial territories which were then controlled by Great Britain. During this period, including up until the founding of the nation in 1776 and beyond, European immigrants continued to come and find a home in America as the fledging nation continued to expand. During this time period as well, slaves from Africa were brought to what would become known as the United States. This continued until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

17th & 18th Centuries
During the period between 1600 and 1700, hundreds of thousands of people made their way from countries such as Spain, England, and France. Slaves were brought from the continent of Africa and the West Indies. Although this practice was a terrible immoral injustice which continued for nearly a century, the African American influence upon the United States has contributed significantly to the rich melting pot of this country.

19th Century
During the 1800s additional ethnic groups traveled to the United States to find business opportunities and a new life. These nationalities included a significant inflow of Italians, Irish, Germans, and various Eastern Europeans. On the western shore of the U.S., many from the Far East in Japan and China came as immigrants to find opportunity, especially during the Gold Rush in 1849.

Modern Immigration
Since the first immigrant arrived onto the shores of what is now known as the United States of America, until the present time, immigration has never ended. From all over the entire globe, millions come to the United States anticipating their chance to obtain a life filled with new opportunities and freedoms. In fact, on average, more than a million persons obtain permanent residency status in the United States each year. Of course the problem of illegal immigration persists and continues to be a controversial political topic in the country. San Diego deportation attorney professionals are intimately involved in the issues surrounding both legal and illegal immigration. Despite these problems, the United States has served and continues to serve as a haven of hope, freedom, and opportunity for immigrants from all over the world.

Article written by Christopher Kratsas

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