President Obama is hardly the first politician to tweak immigration policy — the practice goes all the way back to the founding of the United States. In 1790, just a year after the Constitution took effect, lawmakers set the first rules on who can become an American citizen. And ever since then, they’ve been making adjustments.
Did you know that the first national law regulating immigration cut off the arrival of Chinese workers? And for decades, a quota system was in place that heavily favored white immigrants from Northern Europe.
Watch the video above for a refresher — and a surprising interview with Aviva Chomsky, professor at Salem State University and author of the book “Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal.”