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Elia G.

  • 9th Grade
  • Illinois

What does America mean to you?

By Elia G.
Chicago, Illinois

Founded and Claimed: A Poem about the U.S. Immigration

Founded and claimed
My population grew like a flame
People from the world we know, Immigrated to me
Tears and cries, Stain my history

European immigrants mainly started in 1815
From a trickle to a gush
This causes a shift in the demographics of me
From a hurry to a rush
Europeans came as fast as the sea until the Civil War,
Almost too much
This was the first wave of immigrants
I wasnt ready as such

1819
The Act was passed
There were too many people
We were forced to think fast
It was the Steerage Act of 1819
We order better rides and conditions for ships
while bringing in the new immigrants
It also called for captains to submit demographic information on the travelers

Now we had a list of all the passengers
This created the first federal records of immigrants to me
I counted the number of immigrants, gratefully

Founded and claimed
My population grew like a flame
People from the world we know, Immigrated to me
Tears and cries, Stain my history

From 1820 to 1860
A new wave crashes in
Most from Ireland and some from Germany
Hundreds, no, thousands came from Europe

Came to buy farms or settle in cities including Milwaukee, St Louis, and Cincinnati
Many of them, made their way to the Midwest
They came quickly so their farms had time to harvest

1875
After the Civil War
Many States pass their own immigration laws
What was the cause?
Supreme Court declares the federal government’s responsibility
They must control the immigration possibilities
Here is the set of new laws

Founded and claimed
My population grew like a flame
People from the world we know, Immigrated to me
Tears and cries, Stain my history

1880
A second immigration boom begins
Just over 40 years, 20 million people arrive seeking new homes
As an industrialization period starts, with so many new machines
Immigrants settle in the major U.S. cities having their own small kingdoms

The Chinese Exclusion Act
1882
It began in 1850 the steady flow of Chinese immigrants
The Chinese workers helped the U.S. with many of their accomplishments
They worked in gold mines and garment factories
Built railroads, and aided the U.S with its many construction victories
The men were treated poorly and paid worse
Only enough for them to barely have food to purchase
Somehow some Chinese were beginning to become successful
And they started to become hopeful
But the people were cruel and spiteful
The Chinese were blamed for things that were out of their control
Like low wages. Hows that their fault?
Now Chinese cant immigrate to America?
Now they cant become citizens?
How does this make sense?
10 long years of being punished for what?
Innocence?

Founded and claimed
My population grew like a flame
People from the world we know, Immigrated to me
Tears and cries, Stain my history

January 1892
Ellis Island Opens
My first immigration station
Opened in New York Harbor
Over 12 million immigrants to my nation
For 62 years the population growing larger and larger
1907 was its the immigration peak
1.3 million in one year with more people week after week

1910
An estimated 3 quarters of New York’s population
Consisted of immigrants from the first-generation

1917
The Immigration Act of 1917
This halts immigration from most Asian countries
We made a few adjustments
And established a literacy requirement for the immigrants
Passed a law against the newcomers reluctance

Founded and claimed

My population grew like a flame
People from the world we know, Immigrated to me
Tears and cries, Stain my history

1921
The Emergency Quota Act
We wanted to maintain the mixed races
We wanted to get rid of the undesirable
We wanted to choose our own faces
Anything else was unacceptable
We did the math
We counted up
Subtract and add
The Quota Act
Only 3 percent
Every race
Every face
Every different population
Created from this information
Only 3 percent

1924
The Immigration Act of 1924
This limits the number of people coming to me overall
Yearly through national quotas
This stopped the waterfall
We issued immigration visas to 2 percent of the total number of people of each nationality
Not much hospitality
This was according to the 1890 census
Most immigrants came from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany
These are from the Northern and Western European countries
Immigration from Southern, Central and Eastern Europe was limited greatly
We completely exclude immigrants from Asia
Philippines were Asian immigrants exclusively

1965
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
This overhauls the American immigration system
The limit of 300,000, maximum
20,000 per race
Every tongue, every face
All this discrimination was overcome
Welcome

Bright years looking forward
America can grow
Immigration is a tough subject
There are many highs and lows
It is often debated today
Who do we let in?
We are a free country
Learning to love our migrants will be the only win

Founded and claimed
My population grew like a flame
Even though Immigration was hard
It was required to make U.S who we are

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