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Asylum, Refugees, and Immigration

The rejection by King George III (reigned 1760–1820) and the British government of demands by colonial America for a more open immigration policy to attract newcomers to its shores was one of the causes of the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence in 1776 charged the King with attempting to keep the colonies depopulated, refusing to recognize naturalization acts passed by colonial assemblies, and restricting westward settlement. The framers of the U.S. Constitution made the foreign born ineligible for only one office in the federal government, that of the presidency.

In 1790, the Congress passed the first federal laws that loosely defined a uniform rule for the naturalization of immigrants: any fully white person who resided for two years within the limits and under the jurisdiction ...

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