Throughout the history of the United States immigration has played a big role. In fact, the birth of the US came about because of Europeans that immigrated here for religious freedom. From those small settlements came towns and cities, built by immigrants. But not all migrated here for religious freedom. Many came on wishes for a better life or to pursue business deals. As early as 1610, Italian craftsmen were brought here to by the Virginia Colony to start the glass trade. So regardless of their drive, people have immigrated here since the beginning of the history of the United States and still continue to.
Americans encouraged relatively free and open immigration during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and did not think anything of that policy until the middle 1900s. After some states passed immigration laws following the Civil War, the Supreme Court ruled in 1875 that the regulation of immigrants is a federal responsibility.
As the number of immigrants rose in the 1880s and economic conditions in certain areas worsened, Congress started to use immigration legislation. The Chinese Exclusion Act was one such example. Under this act, passed on 6 MAY 1882, states "the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof." As a result, Angel Island was set up to detain and question Chinese Immigrants.
Between this act and the Alien Contract Labor laws of 1885 and 1887, certain laborers were prohibited from immigrating to the United States. Also in used was the more general Immigration Act of 1882, which charged a head tax of fifty cents on each immigrant, and bar the entry of "idiots, lunatics, convicts, and persons likely to become a public charge". Also passed were the Alien Acts of 1885, 1887,