Saturday, May 18, 2013

Greek immigrants and U.S. Immigration & Citizenship Laws


The following are excerpts from About.com article "Timeline of U.S. Immigration & Citizenship Laws"
HOW DID THESE LAWS IMPACT YOUR GREEK IMMIGRANT ANCESTORS AND THEIR FAMILIES?
Expatriation Act of 1907 (2 March 1907):
Under this act, all women acquired their husband's nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date. This meant that U.S.-born citizen women could now lose their citizenship upon marriage to any alien. They were, however, able to regain their U.S. citizenship when said alien husbands naturalized, unless they married Chinese, Japanese, or other men racially ineligible to become naturalized citizens. Additionally, because the husband's nationality now determined that of the wife, a married woman could no longer legally file for naturalization under her own right.
Children born abroad to alien parents could acquire U.S. citizenship upon the naturalization of their parents during their minority, once the minor child him or herself began to reside permanently in the U.S. Children born abroad to U.S. citizens would be required to swear an oath of allegiance before a U.S. consul upon reaching the age of majority if they wished to retain U.S. citizenship.
U.S. citizenship could also be lost under the 1907 Expatriation Act for (1) naturalization in a foreign state, (2) taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state, or (3) for residing for five years in a foreign state, or two years in the foreign state from which he came. However, no American citizen was to be allowed to "expatriate himself when this country is at war."
...That any American woman who marries a foreigner shall take the nationality of her husband. At the termination of the marital relation she may resume her American citizenship, if abroad, by registering as an American citizen within one year with a consul of the United States, or by returning to reside in the United States, or, if residing in the United States at the termination of the marital relation, by continuing to reside therein...

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Immigration Act of 1917 (5 February 1917):
Congress levied a head tax of $8 for every alien entering the United States, with the exception of children under the age of sixteen accompanying their mother or father. It also denied entry to immigrants from what was called the Asiatic Barred Zone, "any country not owned by the U.S. adjacent to the continent of Asia" (including much of Asia and the Pacific Islands), as well as banning entry for certain 'undesirables,' including, among others, idiots, feeble-minded persons epileptics, paupers, alcoholics, convicts, polygamists, and anyone with a physical or mental defect that might impair their ability to earn a living. Prostitutes and anyone involved in or with prostitution were also restricted from immigration under this act. Children under the age of sixteen were not allowed to enter unless accompanied by a parent, or somehow otherwise able to demonstrate that they were not likely to become a public charge. Individuals who did not pay for their own tickets came under extra scrutiny.
In addition, the 1917 Immigration Act required all alien immigrants over the age of sixteen, other than those who met certain exceptions, to demonstrate their literacy in the language of the aliens' choosing. If they were unable to pass the provided reading test, they were subject to exclusion from admission to the United States. However, any alien who was admissible, or had been previously admitted, could bring in his father or grandfather over fifty-five years of age, his wife, his mother or grandmother, or his unmarried or widowed daughter, whether or not they could read.
...That the following classes of aliens shall be excluded from admission into the United States: All idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons....persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority; persons with chronic alcoholism; paupers; professional beggars; vagrants; persons afflicted with tuberculosis in any form or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons...certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living; persons who have been convicted of or admit having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; polygamists...; anarchists...; persons who are members of or affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching disbelief in or opposition to organized government...

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