Saturday, August 11, 2018

Common Sense is Not that Common

Common Sense, people refer to Common Sense when describing someone who does not understand something. To say someone has no Common Sense is the same as saying they are dumb. The question becomes, Is Common Sense, Common.  Consider the following example.

    Two men, both 21 years old are given a cell phone.  One man uses it to make a phone call, the other uses it as a paperweight.  We can say that the first man has common sense, but what about the second man?  It is what we do not know about the second man that makes a difference.

    If the second man in our scenario was born and lived his entire life in the jungles of Borneo and has had no contact with technology is it fair to say he has no Common Sense?  If we took the first man and dropped him into the jungle, how long would he survive? 

    When we talk about Common Sense, we must consider Common Experience.  This extends to many of the tasks we expect people to understand. A 21 year old who was raised and lives in the jungle of Borneo may not understand how to use a cellphone as the phone was intended.  Likewise, a city dweller may not understand the importance of keeping your kindling dry.  For that matter they may not know what kindling is.

    Using that logic I argue that there is no such thing as Common Sense unless you consider Common Experience first. 

Just a Saturday morning thought.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Bacon for Today

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake..."

Francis Bacon

One of these days is today.  Sooner or later can become never. Sieze the Day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Pondering Otter: Depression.

I was pondering some of life's great questions with my otter.

Questions like "Is a naval orange actually aquatic?"

We battled back and forth and finally my pondering otter said,

"Should crazy people diagnose their own brand of crazy?"

That is when I countered, "But only someone who has been through it can understand it."

That pondering otter got me good with "Really? So if you burn yourself are you saying only someone who has been burned can fix it? If you break your leg only someone who has broken their leg can fix you?"

Well he had me, but to at least score one point I said, "This is all true pondering otter, but only someone who has been where I have been should judge me?"

Pondering otter sat there for a moment and said, "Then only you can judge you. And we know you are nuts. Should you be trusted with that task?

Good point Pondering Otter....good point.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls, Montana. The Story Behind The PIctures.

Giant Springs

Nature has a way of springing things on you when you least expect them.  This was true when the military stationed me in Montana.  There were many things I had never experienced, and Giant Springs is one of those wonders.

Located in Great Falls, Montana Giant Springs sits along the banks of the Missouri River just down stream from Black Eagle Falls. It was one of the discovery's of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805.  The spring has water of the bluest blue. Something photographs can not reproduce.

Giant Springs and the Roe River
The water in the spring is always above freezing and this creates a perpetual fog during the winter months. The journey of the water from its source in the Little Belt Mountains 44 miles away.

The sheer amount of water is amazing. The spring produces 144 million gallons of water every day. This is some of the clearest and cleanest tasting water you will ever encounter.

Another feature is that the Giant Springs is the source of the Roe River.  The Roe River is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest river in the world.  At only 201 feet most of the river is only ankle deep, but near its end it drops off to 6-8 feet in depth.

The Roe River
Fishing in this area is very good.  In fact, between June 15th to about early July it is better than good. Montana Fish and Game has erected a small fishing area in the park.  Fishing from this are using small salad shrimp on a bottom bouncing rig produces a nice assortment of trout to include rainbow, and browns.

On the other side of the river, during this same period of time there are large numbers of perch.

Other areas of interest near Giant Springs includes the Great Falls of the Missouri. These are a series of falls all located near the city of Great Falls.

Rainbow Dam and Horseshoe Falls

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Alpha 5

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy called the 10 Minuteman missiles of the Alpha Flight Launch Control Facility (LCF) his “Ace in the Hole.”  The Strategic Air Command (SAC) stationed the nation’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. My introduction to the Air Force begins here.

USAF Security Two Man Camper Team
Among the members of the 341st Missile Wing Alpha 5 was famous, because it was haunted.  The story goes that Alpha 5 was built on an old Indian burial ground. In building the site they had separated the body of an Indian warrior and his wife. This of course results in the restless spirit of the warrior to always be up to some sort of mischief. One incident (totally unconfirmed but universally believed) is that a Camper Team member was in the back of the camper sleeping when the door suddenly blew open…and standing there was an Indian fully decked out in war paint.  The Camper blew holes all in his camper in an attempt to kill that dead Indian.  So the story goes. My story is set on a very rainy night in the early 80’s.

I was on the way to Alpha-5 with my team leader driving the camper.  Alpha-5s security system would not reset. So we would spend at least one night providing personal security for the site. 
Google Earth Belt Mountains
The rain was not an ordinary rain…it was monsoonal…add to that the snow melt…and all the rivers in the area were overflowing their banks.  Belt creek, which flowed out of the Little Belt Mountains, had already swallowed the small town of Belt.  As we followed the hard pavement deep into the mountains we could occasionally see the swollen river.  We made our turn off the hard pavement onto the long dirt road that led to Alpha-5.

The small mountain stream that ran along side the road looked like a raging river; I have never seen so much water moving so fast.  We came upon our first bridge…or where the bridge should be…instead there was a nice amount of water flowing over the bridge.  My team leader did not want to cross it, but our Security Controllers at base ordered us to try.  We did, and moments later they closed the bridge behind us…we were now stuck with no way back. 
Bridge and Alpha-5 

We arrived at the site and after going through the entry procedures my team leader and I set about trying to reset the alarm system…this included highly technical methods.  We beat the banjos with out rifle butts. We even went so far as to massage it with turtle wax. We called that “Waxing the Banjo.” Sometimes it worked, most often it did not.  And it was very unauthorized. 

My team leader was a 4 year vet. He had his 3 stripes, but something happened that kept him from making “Buck Sergeant.”  Something always happens.  It was also his last tour of duty.  In the next few days he would be leaving the service forever…and being stuck on Alpha-5 did not make him happy.  It would end up not making me happy either.
The Banjo

For me, everything in the Air Force was an adventure, few days were the same. There was always some new mission or challenge.  But for my leader the shine had gone from the apple, he was done and just wanted to go home.  I took the night shift, it was my favorite time, the team leader settled down to sleep, or so I thought.

It was not long until he was back up front with me in the camper, and he was in full complaint mode. All night long I listened to his list of things he hated…he was totally ruining any chance of my seeing an Indian ghost.

Missile Site with old Banjo System.
When the sun came up he looked at me and said, “Hey, why don’t you call the base and tell them I am sick?”

I asked, “What is wrong with you?”

He must have been a mind reader, he started to breathe deeply and grasp at his chest.  Then he said, “I am having a hard time breathing, and my chest hurts.”

I was young, but not stupid.  This guy was playing a dangerous game, but I was really getting tired of the theatre. So I radioed our security control and told them what my leader had said.  In the military we take people seriously, and they responded that way.  The security controllers asked the typical questions, does he have a fever, has he puked, etc…

Security control informed us that the roads between the base and us were closed.  To me that settled the issue.  We would just have to wait.  That did not set well with my team leader.  He began to have new and increasingly serious symptoms. I relayed them to the base as they came up.  Frankly, I was expecting him to have me tell the controllers he had passed out. 

There was only one alternative left for the Security Controllers. They would need to send out a helicopter to relieve us. Alpha-5 posed a serious risk to flying.  It is high in the mountains, and in a very narrow valley.  Winds in that area were unpredictable; the pilot told me later that Alpha-5 was a restricted flight area…the pilots did not like flying there.

Amazingly, when the team leader learned a chopper was on the way, he felt much better.

The pilot gently nudge his ship down onto the site and we were extracted.  We flew from Alpha-5 to several other sites to pick up similarly stranded Cops.  The site of the city of Belt is one that stays with me to this day…it looked like it was completely underwater.  The other sites we flew to were nearly underwater. 

Well that is my Alpha-5 story.  Never did get to see a ghost, but it was an adventure all the same.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Immigration Road.

The Immigration Road

Part I


I stood along a dirt road in New Mexico watching an archeologist poke a stick into a very small depression on the side of a the hill.  The depression’s only unique feature was its color.  Unlike the tan color of the desert, it was very black.  The archeologist stood up and said, “You may not believe this, but a family of about 12 people lived here.  I would estimate somewhere between 6 to 9 thousand years ago.” My job as a training instructor included doing site surveys of areas we planned to use for training.  This included looking for archeological sites.  I was often amazed at how the archeologists could tell by the slightest changes in the ground that people had lived in an area.

 Recently, in terms of political time, immigration, especially illegal immigration has become a hot button topic.  It is important that before we make any changes in our present immigration system, that we understand the history of immigration in the United States and the purpose of immigration laws.

To approach this issue I have divided immigration into 6 distinct periods.  These periods are: The Land Bridge Period, The Pre-Columbian Period, The Colonial Period, The Early Republic, Post Civil War Period, and The Current Period.  These periods are distinguished by the immigration pattern, immigration purpose, immigration benefits, and immigration legislation.  I will use an apolitical approach in an attempt to not become embroiled in individual political passion.

In the course of this series I will present the demonstrated facts about immigration.  This perspective will always be from the impact it has on American[1] society and economy.  Keep in mind that the mindset of these distinct periods is not in keeping with many present day norms.  It is critical that any discussion does not compare morality of 10,000 BC, with 2013 AD.   It is also critical that no comparison be attempted between immigration in Asia, Europe, or Africa to the immigration in America

This series is not presented to argue a point, or particular solution to immigration in America.  Instead, it is intended to spur discussion based on the information provided.  It is important that you do not read into, or attempt to jump ahead of the articles as they are presented.  Discussion of the individual articles is important, but discussions about current situations should be left until that article has been presented.  What follows one article may not be what you expect, and sifting through the noise ahead of an article is annoying. Feel free to comment, or correct anything you think is wrong.  I do not propose to know it all, and as with any article, no matter how hard I try, some of my own prejudice will find its way into the discussion.

As the articles progress I will update each with links to the other articles in the series.  I really do not like series blogs, but this is such a complex subject it is impossible to boil it down to a single 750 word blog post.

The Immigration Road

Part II

The Land Bridge Period
Approximately thirty thousand years ago a land bridge stretched between present day Siberia, and Alaska. The most popular theory is that people who would become known as American Indians crossed this land bridge.  This began the Land Bridge Period of immigration to the Americas[2].

For eighteen thousand years people this land bridge allowed for both animals, and later man, to spread across the Americas. These people created hundreds of cultures, and sub-cultures, each with their own ethnic identity, religion, and methods of survival.  Given the sheer size of the Americas there was plenty of room for these cultures to develop with very little interference from the outside, or one another.

The environment controlled the migration of animals and people.  As the planet began to warm during the last Ice Age[3], animals in particular began to migrate to warmer and more fertile land.  Since man at this point was very dependent on wild game, they followed these animal migrations across the Land Bridge.  This immigration to the Americas was based solely on the food source.

The pattern of immigration during the Land Bridge Period at first would have been family groups of about 40 people. Given the vast lands of the Americas, these groups would have found themselves free to spread over both Americas. During this period these groups consisted of nomadic hunter gatherers.  They would continue to follow the food sources further into the Americas.

The important point to remember is the reason these people migrated.  It was for survival and the journey to improve their lives by maintaining a constant and secure source of food, water, and shelter.  Although it is possible that some of the groups migrated to escape enemies, this was not the primary reason.

Approximately twelve thousand years ago the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska was once again swallowed by the sea. By the time the land bridge closed there were hundreds of thousands of people spread across the Americas. And though you would think this was the largest migration of people the Americas would experience, you would be wrong.

The Immigration Road

Part III

The Pre-Columbian Period

The Pre-Columbian Period of Immigration was one of internal immigration within the United States. It was during this period that some tribes combined with others, and other tribes split completely and migrated to entirely new areas.  There are also some great mysteries.

Social development flourished in the southern portion of America.  One group of interest were the mound builders, and the most interesting of these was the Mississippian Culture.

We often imagine that the American Indian as settling is villages that were small, and that they lived in tents or grass huts.  This was true in America when the Spanish arrived in 1539.  However, the Mississippian culture existed in the mid-west, south-east, and as far west as present day Arkansas.  Often called the “Mound Builders” because of the large earthen mounds they built, the culture goes beyond just making hills.

The Mississippian people built wooden temples, or houses atop the mounds to form large cities.  They had moved from hunter/gatherers to an agrarian society[4].  They developed a chiefdom system of government and power was held by a few, or one.  They also constructed palisades.  The question of the palisades, especially in the later part of the culture is interesting.

You build walls for two reasons.  The first being defense, the second being to contain something, or someone.  There is no doubt that this culture was involved in the conquest and enslaving lesser peoples.  Immigration control is a means to control population.  This need to control the population of your nation by controlling immigration is not new, but the fact is had been practiced within the Native American culture in general is highlighted by the Mississippians.  A mystery surrounds this culture…it disappeared with little evidence as to why long before the arrival of the Europeans.

Another example of this is the Iroquoian Nations.  The Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga tribes shared the same language and culture.  They were co-located and formed league in the late 15th or early 16th century.  Known as the 5 Nations they were a powerful force in the New York area. These tribes demonstrate how 5 Nations coalesced into a single force.  However, there is the anomaly of the 6th Nation.

At some point the Tuscarora Nation migrated south leaving the area controlled by the 5 Nations.  This migration was probably forced by the increased competition of the coordinated actions of the 5 nations.  Once settled in the eastern areas of North Carolina they became the largest and most powerful force in the area.  It would remain there until just before the American Revolution. 

This pattern of tribes with like language and culture combining, or breaking apart is repeated throughout the United States as power struggles led to forced migration. 

Each tribe had rules concerning the introduction of foreign people into the tribe.  In many cases foreign people were introduced as captives, or slaves.  In a few cases someone from another culturally connected tribe may be allowed to join a group, but they would have been required to demonstrate their value to the tribe.

It would have been inevitable that the American Indian would have once again built huge complex cities, had it not been for Christopher Columbus.

The Immigration Road

Part IV

The Colonial Period

The rediscovery of the Americas brought change throughout the entire New World.  The new immigrants did not initially arrive as family units, but as military units with the desire to explore, exploit and convert.  When you think of the early Colonial Period, the Spanish are the leading immigrants. Immigration is seldom though of in terms of the early Spanish expeditions, but whether the sailors and soldiers of these expeditions realized it, it is what they did.

Spanish immigration began with explorers who discovered new areas that could be exploited for their material resources.  They did this with government funding, and the moral support of the Catholic Church.  The Church saw souls as a resource.  The Spanish practiced the harsh methods of immigration, not only one the American Indians, but also on their own soldiers and sailors.  These sailors and soldiers did not realize that in many cases the plan did not include them being returned to Spain. Spain also introduced the first African slaves into America.

The British Empire began an immigration that would have the greatest impact on America.  The British pattern of immigration differed from that of the Spanish.  The British commercialized the idea of immigration.  The British Government backed commercial permanent immigration to America.  They also allowed totally independent commercial immigration.  This would provide Britain with new sources of materials and income, as well as expanding the empire.

Immigration during this time consisted of like minded people to develop societies free of Government interference.  These people immigrated to escape political intimidation based on religious belief.  This change in the reason of immigration was a new pattern of immigration to the new world.

Unlike the Spanish, the goal of converting the natives was not a priority.  That is not to say that the British immigrants did not try, or want to convert the natives, it was not one of the goals of immigration. The conversion methods when used were not nearly as harsh as those used by Spain were. 

The Colonial Period consisted of the introduction of new ideas in government, religion, and culture.  People from throughout Europe and their African slaves replaced, assimilated, or forced Native Americans to migrate west. This shift in demographics took place in less than 100 years and propelled America toward a new destiny.

This new idea of many religious points of view existing in relatively close proximity, combined with varied cultures were doing something in America that they were unable to do in Europe. Of course the wars in Europe created many conflicts in America…these were conflicts that extended to America…not created in America. There were certainly conflicts that existed between the Native Americans and the new immigrants, but those are to be expected.

Displacement of the Native Americans was a major issue among the Native Americans.  Some, like the Cherokee tribe, assimilated to the new culture.  The Cherokee even began to participate in the culture as land holders, and slave owners.  Others, such as the Tuscarora, fought hard against the new immigrants, and in the end were forced to return to the rest of the Iroquoian Nation.

Throughout the Colonial Period there were no controls on immigration imposed by the colonizing nations.  If you could afford the passage, which few could, then you could immigrate to America.  One method that many people chose was to become indentured servants.  An indentured servant would enter into a contractual agreement to serve as labor for someone for a particular period.  After this period was complete they were free to go where they pleased.  This becomes an important issue in later periods.

The Colonial Period ended abruptly with the onset of the American Revolution.  A new nation was born from the colonies and immigration took on a new meaning.

The Immigration Road

Part V

The Early Republic

The Treaty of Paris signed September 3, 1783 ended the American Revolution.  The former British Colonies were now faced with the problem of creating a Government. On March 4, 1789 the United States Government began work, the Federal Government had been born.  Suddenly, nearly 4 million people[5] came under the control of a new government. 

Since the new republic required participation of its citizens there needed to be a definition of what a U.S. Citizen was.  The 1790 Naturalization Act set out to define who was a citizen, and how an immigrant became a citizen. The 1790 Act consisted of 4 sections.

Under the 1790 Act to be considered for naturalization a person must first be a free white person, of good moral character.  The Act prevented Native Americans, Blacks, Slaves, Indentured Servants, and Asians from becoming citizens. Your moral character was determined by a common law court.

In addition to being a free white person of good moral character you had to have resided in the United States for 2 years, and at least 1 year in the State that you file the application.   The 2 year provision was intended to show that the new immigrants had established themselves and not been involved in any criminal activity that would indicate a bad moral character.  The 1 year in the state in which the application was made also allowed the courts access to any criminal activity.

Finally, the 1790 Act allowed for the children (under 21) of naturalized citizens to be considered citizens as well.  In this part of the act a citizen was the father. Lineage had to follow the father.

The 1795 Naturalization Act increased the time of residence from 2 to 5 years.  It also required that a citizen renounce all previous allegiances and hereditary titles 3 years before being granted citizenship.

In 1802 Act directed the clerk of courts were instructed to record the entry of all aliens to the United States.  The alien’s name, birthplace, age, nation of allegiance, country of emigration, and place of intended settlement was recorded.  The clerk of court would issue a certificate that established the time of the aliens entry into the United States.

By the time of the Civil War the population topped 16 million.  In addition to natural growth[6], there were mass immigration events.  These include the immigration of Irish due to the famine of the 1840’s, and the Chinese.

The Chinese were culturally, linguistically, and religiously extreme in terms of the dominant language, religions and cultures of America.  They immigrated due to famine and a failed economy in China. They immigrated as large family groups drawn by the promise of wealth gold rush in California.  They established self-contained communities within established American communities.  These “China Town’s” can be found in many of the western states, some of which actually existed below the streets of many cities. This Chinese sub-culture was seen as anything but one of “good moral character.”  This sub-culture consisted of opium dens and prostitution. However, it also highlighted the American ideal of hard work and persistence. The Chinese understood business and provided services to the growing mining communities of the American West.

The 1802 Act remained unchanged until after the American Civil War. 

The Immigration Road

Part VI

The Post Civil War Period

After the Civil War the United States suddenly had approximately 200,000 new residents in the form of freed slaves. During the war in 1862 anyone who had been honorably discharged from the Army had the 5 year residency requirement waived.  In 1894 this was extended to members of the Marines and Navy.

Even with the addition of former slaves to the mix, the majority of immigration continued to be from Britain, with Ireland leading the way.  Due to the continued hostile environment set up in Ireland, along with famine Irish Catholics were streaming into the United States.  The common port of entry for most of these immigrants was New York.

This created an issue for New York.  Prior to 1891, the states were required to log, and issue certificates of citizenship.  With so many immigrants arriving in New York, the State was absorbing all of the costs associated with recording the entry to the country, and the courts were clogged with petitions for citizenship.  The 1891 Immigration and Naturalization Act created the Immigration Bureau. This now shifted the responsibility of logging and tracking the petitions for citizenship to the Federal Government. 

By 1900, immigrants began to include people from Italy, and Eastern European Nations. This new surge in immigration was still creating backlogs in civil courts throughout the nation.  In 1906 the Immigration Bureau changed into the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.  This new Federal bureau was placed in charge of all matters pertaining to immigration.

The 1906 law also changed the process for becoming a citizen.  The process began with the immigrant filing declaration of intent. After filing this declaration within a period of 2 to 7 years they could then petition for citizenship.  Previously the court decided if the person was of “good moral character.”  The 1906 law now only required that the applicant provide two witnesses with personal knowledge of the individual who would sign an affidavit of that stated the applicant had lived in the United States for 5 years, and was of good moral character. Next the petition would be investigated and by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and they would submit a preliminary report with recommendations to the judge. The last step was a hearing before a judge.  If the judge found in favor of the petition the immigrant would take an oath and renounce all previous allegiances. The law did not change the fact that Native Americans and Asians were denied citizenship.

Several pivotal laws during this period were the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924.

The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 was intended to be a short term cure to the problem of immigration.  Wide spread unemployment after World War I spurred the need to curtail immigration. The Act limited immigration to 3 percent of the people from that same country living in the United States as of the 1910 census.    

The Immigration Act of 1924 further restricted immigration by dropping the quota to 2 percent.  In this act the barriers to race were removed.  For the first time Native Americans and Asians could petition for citizenship.  

The Post-Civil war period saw a great deal of immigration from across the globe, and this combined with economic issues within the country created more stringent guidelines to control immigration.  War, famine, persecution and a chance to make a better life drew people to the nation, and set the tone for immigration well into the Current Period.

The Immigration Road

Part VII

The Dream for a Better Tomorrow

Everyone dreams for a better tomorrow.  Many people say they want a better life for their children than they had.  Though this is true, they need to improve their own lives to make this possible. 

Although the original immigrants were unwittingly trapped in a new world, it was their need to stay fed, clothed, and sheltered from the storms that drove them forward. Like the immigrants that followed them, they came with the clothes on their backs.  They would give birth to great leaders.  Men who recognized what it meant to be a leader, and the great responsibility that came with leadership.  Of course, not all of these were benevolent leaders. Just like in the world they left, some would become despotic and practice the most evil of all arts.  A study of the cultures that developed in the microcosm of Pre-Columbian America is a study of world history.   

The rediscovery of America led to immigration from something to something.  Many of the early immigrants were seeking fame and fortune.  And as with any risky endeavor, many lost their lives both figuratively and literally.  Some of these immigrants were thrown into a world and abandoned. Like anyone they made due with what they had, they learned from the people who had migrated thousands of years earlier, and they brought to these people new ideas.

The problems of the Old World and New World combined with the solutions to those problems gave rise to a new nation, and most importantly a new way in which people and Government interacted.  The rise of individualism, the right to think and live in the way you saw fit became a beacon that attracted the disenfranchised moths of the human race.  Well before the rise of republican democracy, people began to vote for a better life with their feet.

Like the Mississippian, Inca, Mayan, Iroquois, and others in America, the new immigrants posed problems, brought disease, and threatened the balance of the New World.  However, instead of destroying the cultures that existed before, the new ideas of freedom allowed for the melding of new ideas, and the rejection of the old.  These ideas spread beyond the borders of the New World and crossed the globe to replace the old ideas of Emperors, and Monarchs.  Government no longer held to the whims of one, or a few, but became one that was of the people, and by the people.

Like a life boat in a sea of drowning people, the United States of America is seen as the dream of a better tomorrow.  Like a life boat nearing capacity America struggled with how to filter those who immigrate and educate them as to what the idea of freedom means. Something the nation began to struggle with at the turn of the 20th century, and is still struggling with today. 

The first half of the 20th century saw two World Wars, and the rise of a new type of war with the beginning of the Cold War.  Although the issue of immigration was certainly addressed during this period, it was never answered. That brings us to the Current Period of Immigration.

The Immigration Road


The Current Period

Author’s note: In an attempt to keep these articles as short as possible, and the complex nature of the Current Period in Immigration this article will briefly describe the legislation during the period.  A more detailed discussion will follow in a future article.

The 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Act

In the early morning hours of 9 March, 1916 five hundred men under the command of Pancho Villa attacked the small town of Columbus, New Mexico.  Screaming, “Villa, Villa, Viva Mexico,” the raiders set about looting and burning the town.  What they had not counted on was the fact that nearly all of the residents were armed. When the detachment of the 13th Cavalry that was garrisoned in the town recovered from the initial assault the attacking Villa was forced to withdraw.

The early part of the 20th century was marked by socialists, anarchists, communists, and revolutionaries. The threat posed by immigrants to the homogenous ethnic makeup of the United States spurred the immigration laws of that period. The Immigration Act of 1924 had created quotas, the requirement to have a visa, it defined the term “Immigrant,” and established the naturalization processes that would remain in effect until the second half of the century.

At the end of World War II the world was awash with refugees.  Escaping the horrors of post war Europe, Asia, and Africa these refugees were drawn to the first Super Power, the United States.  The very first shots of the Cold War had begun in a small peninsula in Asia.

In 1952, the Current Period of immigration began with the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952.  Until this time the rules of immigration and naturalization had been contained in wide variety of statutes. The 1952 act combined all of these statutes into a single act.

The 1952 act removed the racial barrier to naturalization. No longer was a person required to be a free white of good moral character.  This requirement had been in effect since the Naturalization Act of 1790. It retained the quota system for immigration, but modified it to include preferential ethnic groups and those with special skills.  It also defined three types of immigrants.

The first group consisted of immigrants with special skills, such as engineers, doctors, and scientists were given a fast track to immigration.  This group also included relatives of present citizens; they were exempt from the quota system.

The Second group consisted of the average immigrant.  This group was limited to 270 thousand per year.

The Third group consisted of refugees.  This created the idea of Political Asylum that is used heavily today. 

The Act also allowed for the deportation of immigrants, and naturalized citizens who were engaged in subversive activity.  This was specifically used to target communists and other revolutionaries who were considered dangerous.

To become a naturalized citizen the act states


“The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 requires an alien to apply for a petition for naturalization. This form may be obtained from any office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a division of the Department of Justice, or from any court authorized to naturalize aliens. Before applying, an alien must be at least 18 years old and must have been lawfully admitted to live permanently in the United States. He must have lived in the United States for five years and for the last six months in the state where he seeks to be naturalized. In some cases, he need only have lived three years in the United States. He must be of good moral character and "attached to the principles of the Constitution". The law states that an alien is not of good moral character if he is a drunkard, has committed adultery, has more than one wife, makes his living by gambling, has lied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has been in jail more than 180 days for any reason during his five years in the United States, or is a convicted murderer.”[7]

The Act was not without controversy. President Truman vetoed the act, but Congress overturned his veto. This is an interesting debate to note. It is an example of what is missing in politics today. The Act was sponsored by two Democrats. It was Vetoed by a Democrat, and over ruled by Democrats.[8]

President Truman’s veto statement reads,

“Today, we are "protecting" ourselves as we were in 1924, against being flooded by immigrants from Eastern Europe. This is fantastic...We do not need to be protected against immigrants from these countries–on the contrary we want to stretch out a helping hand, to save those who have managed to flee into Western Europe, to succor those who are brave enough to escape from barbarism, to welcome and restore them against the day when their countries will, as we hope, be free again....These are only a few examples of the absurdity, the cruelty of carrying over into this year of 1952 the isolationist limitations of our 1924 law. In no other realm of our national life are we so hampered and stultified by the dead hand of the past, as we are in this field of immigration.”[9]

In response, Pat McCarran stated,

“I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. I take no issue with those who would praise the contributions which have been made to our society by people of many races, of varied creeds and colors.... However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies. Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under the strain. The solution of the problems of Europe and Asia will not come through a transplanting of those problems en masse to the United States.... I do not intend to become prophetic, but if the enemies of this legislation succeed in riddling it to pieces, or in amending it beyond recognition, they will have contributed more to promote this nation's downfall than any other group since we achieved our independence as a nation.”[10]

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

If you want to point to one act that has had the most significant effect on America this is the one. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 came amidst a time of turmoil within the United States. The Civil Rights Movement was at its height and the present system of national origin quotas was seen as counter to that movement.

The Act removed the quota system that was established in the 1920’s excluded immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The purpose of the acts from the 1920’s was to maintain the status quo of the demographics of American culture. The 1965 Act was not popular with the majority of Americans. The concern was that by allowing unfiltered immigration would greatly impact the American demographic.

The 1965 Act changed immigration by focusing on the skills and family relationships of immigrants. The family relationships did not just include naturalized citizens, but residents. This meant that a person related to someone who was legally in the United States would receive preferential treatment. This opened a flood gate to immigration from Latin America. The supporters of the bill assured the American people that this change would not greatly affect the demographic of the country.

The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, created a pathway for legal immigration to virtually anyone from Cuba based on a very loose set of criteria. If you could find your way to the United States you were all but guaranteed a visa.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Recognizing the problems caused by the Immigration Act of 1965, and the failure of controlling immigration along the borders, this act sought to rectify the problem. The 1986 act made it illegal to hire illegal immigrants, while at the same time legalizing the hiring of certain seasonal illegal workers.

The act also legalized illegal immigrants that had entered the United States Prior to 1982. The immigrants were required to turn themselves in, pay a fine, back taxes, and admit they had entered the country illegally.

The Immigration Act of 1990

This Act increased the number of legal immigrants per year to 700,000. This was an increase over the previously allowed number of 500,000. It created new types of visas and continued the preferential treatment of those who had family in the United States. It also removed many barriers to immigration. Previously those who had serious diseases were barred from entry. In particular, this act removed AIDS as a barrier to immigration.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

The last major act of congress that has had the greatest impact was the 1996 Act.  Given the complexity of this act it will be discussed in detail in the next article in this series.


The current period of Immigration differs very little from the periods of the past in terms of why people immigrate to the United States.  However, legislation has had a huge impact on how new immigrants are allowed into the United States.  The discussion now changes from the history of immigration to the cause and effect of both immigration and the laws presently in effect, and proposed concerning immigration.

The Immigration Road

Part IX

Conclusion and the Future of Immigration

The future of the United States, as a free nation, is tied to immigration, and integration of immigrants into the ideals of freedom.  This was the goal of every immigration act passed since the founding of the nation.  In the early days of the republic there was no mass immigration from Canada, or Mexico.  In order to immigrate to the United States, you had to take a slow boat.  As they say….change…changed everything.

Social changes in our neighboring countries, chief among these are Latin American nations made the United States a better place to live.  We became what Gloria Steinem called “The enormous frosted cupcake surrounded by millions of starving people.”   Our own social change put sprinkles on the top of that cupcake.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, has created a new class of people that have not integrated into free people.  Instead, they have brought along their own unresolved issues from the countries they are escaping, and in some cases are attempting to create little versions of their own country within the boundaries of America.  This is demonstrated by the Irish and Chinese immigration of the 1800’s.  It is further highlighted by Latin immigration of the 1950’s and 1960s, as well as, the Middle Eastern immigration of the 1980’s and 1990’s. 

Any reform to immigration must deal with present Illegal Immigrants, prevention of future illegal immigration, and immigration of those who are desirable.  As a nation we must be prepared to take consistent and conscious steps to ensure that we create fiscally responsible and economically feasible methods to control immigration.  The methods to make this happen will not be politically acceptable to everyone, but the alternative would be more devastating than doing nothing at all. 

Many oppose anything other than what they want…they have no give and take, and certainly have no proposals that offer alternatives.  They are, for lack of a better term, as useless as, teats on a boar. If you fit in this category, you may want to stop reading right here and crawl back into your bunker.  If you are open to finding real solutions, please keep on reading.

This is the last article in the series The Immigration Road.  It was provided to establish the history of immigration in America.  All of the articles that follow this series will reference this work as a starting point for those articles.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.


CaptBlackEagle was born and raised in the United States.  As a United States Security Forces member he has traveled to Europe, Southwest Asia, and Latin America.  After retiring from the military he obtained a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in History with honors.  He is presently mostly retired.

[1] For the purpose of this entire series American refers to the territory containing the United StatesAmericas refers to both North and South America.
[2] There are many other theories that exist about how the Native Americans got here, to include that the evolved in America.  These theories, though interesting have very little support to support them.
[3] There is some discussion as to whether we are at the end of the last Ice Age, or in the warming trend that follows an Ice Age.
[4] It is interesting to note how societies progress.  In a hunter/gatherer lifestyle almost every minute of the day is dedicated to survival.  It can be theorized that the environment provided enough food that they had time to create complex technologies that allowed them to cultivate crops.
[5] 1790 census
[6] By Natural growth I mean births.
[8] I know I said I would remain apolitical, but this is an important point.