How the Immigration Legislation in the U.S. Changed through the Years

Updated on Sunday 23rd October 2016

How the Immigration Legislation in the U.S. Changed through the Years Image
The U.S. started regulating immigration ever since 1790, with laws which tended to impose limits to favoring Europeans in the early stages. In 1965 an entirely new legislation enabled immigrants from other parts of the world to come and live in the U.S. More recently, the immigration legislation and presidential actions have been issued in regards to newer issues, like refugees, illegal immigration and terrorism. Below our immigration lawyers in Miami would like present a few guidelines on how the immigration legislation changed through the years in the U.S.


The 1965 U.S. immigration legislation 

In 1965, the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) was adopted, also known as the Hart-Celler Act. This new immigration legislation in the U.S. set a new immigration policy which was based on reuniting the immigrants’ relatives and drawing skilled labor force in the country. 

Even though the INA of 1965 eliminated quotas, the legislation did though set limits on the total immigration and per-country and on every category. Family reunification was still a principal objective, allowing families to leave from other countries and come reside in the U.S. An immigration attorney in Miami can provide more details on what the INA regulations consist of.

End of 20th century in the U.S.

In the years 1980s, the Refugee Act which redefined the term refugee after the United Nations standards, and the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which generated for the first time penalties for employers who hired illegal immigrants on purpose, were adopted.
In 1990, the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT) U.S. immigration law adapted and extended the Act of 1965. The IMMACT allowed the increase of the immigration limit to 700,000 and grew visas with 40%. Family reunification was deemed as the main factor for immigration and the Act also increased the immigration based on employment.

Current immigration legislation in the U.S.

Most recently, the immigration laws in the U.S. have registered certain changes. In 2012, President Obama adopted measures which allowed young individuals who had come illegally in the country to apply for deportation relief and a work permit. In 2014, this program was further developed with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a new system which offered similar advantages to certain illegal immigrants who were the parents of children born in the U.S. However, these programs are currently on hold in 26 states due to a legal challenge.

If you are interested in immigrating in the U.S. or knowing more about how the U.S. immigration laws have changed in time, a Miami immigration lawyer from our team can help. Please get in touch with us