Unlike multilingual European countries that formed around existing and generally geographically separate language groups, the challenge of the new American republic was to incorporate a continuing flow of immigrants, who spoke different languages into a united nation, where only one language was spoken (Martin, 2011).
Each new coming wave of immigrants faced the prejudice of the old-timers. In the middle of the 19th century, all Irish immigrants were believed to be drunkards. In the early 20th century, there was a widespread opinion that the Poles, Russian Jews, and Italians were too different from the local population, their customs and traditions had little in common with the habits of Americans. They had very little chance of successful integration into American society. Now immigrants from Asia and Latin America are accused similarly.
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In the first half of the 20th century, the nature of the migration process was very different from the migration of the 19th century. Approximately, 30 million of people left Europe during 1900-1939. The high level of concentration of production and capital in the U.S. has led to the additional demand for labor, which satisfied the less developed countries (backward countries in Europe, China, and India). As before, most of the immigrants were from the UK, but now they were mostly sent to the British colonies, particularly the ones in South Africa. The number of re-emigrants has dramatically increased, the English and the Irish were returning to their historic homelands. The flow of immigrants from Germany to Latin America had also increased. Migrant Italians made the basic choice in favor of the United States (DeConde, Burns, & Logevall, 2002).
The limitation has gradually continued in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, just after World War I (1914-1918) and at the beginning of the 1920s. Congress changed the policy of the country about immigration. The Law on national origin (adopted in 1921 and approved in final form in 1924) limited not only the number of immigrants, who could enter the United States but also set quotas, based on one's national origin. This was a complex of legislative acts, which essentially favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, sharply limiting the number of arrivals from Eastern and Southern Europe and declaring the inappropriate reception of immigrants from Asia to the United States. As before, some settlers were from other European countries.
Most people were convinced that Mexican immigrants took jobs from Americans and that they were the cause of the incoming decline. California authorities passed a law that banned hiring illegal Mexican immigrants. The hostile attitude of society to the Mexicans led to the fact that a third of all Mexicans living in the United States, had to leave the country or were forcibly deported. The American attitude toward immigrants changes, depending on the condition of the U.S. economy. When the country is experiencing hard times, society treats newcomers with disapproval. If the situation changes for the better, then foreigners are welcomed.