Melissa Harris-Perry | December 02, 2012
>>> unof the goals that president obama thoepd accomplish in his first term was comprehensive immigration reform . here we are in the last month f the first term and it's been pushed off to next year. for the millions of people living without documentation, this is an urgent problem we cannot forget that immigration has a long and labored history in this country. and patterns and perception of american migrants have long been the fibers that weave together our national history. when we consider just the huddled masses who made their way through ellis island , 40% of americans today can trace their ancestry to those who passed through ellis island in 1892 to 1954 . between 1815 and 1915 , 30 million europeans arrived in the united states representing approximately 90% of the immigration to the u.s. in that period. the majority of whom hailed from ireland and germany. almost half were from ireland alone. in 1855 , more than 50% of the population of new york, the first port of call for the majority of immigrants, was foreign-born. but attitudes were changing. toward the end of the 19th sentry, just 1.6% of immigrants were asian. but apparently that was enough to push congress to pass the chinese exclusion act in 1882 restricting immigration from china for ten years. as public opinion turned against certain kinds of immigrants in the early 20th century , more legislative restrictions began to take hold. in 1924 , the johnson-reid immigration act created a quota system. it puts caps on the number of immigrants that could come to the u.s. from a particular country. the act also included a provision that made certain immigrants ineligible for citizenship based on race or nationality. by the middle of the 20th septemberry, the face of immigration to the united states had begun to change. by the end of the 1970s , a third of the foreign-born population of the country hailed from latin america . today that trend has continued. in the last census, more than half of the foreign born population is from latin america . overall, almost 13% of the population are new immigrants. by and large, our fellow americans came through legal channels. only 29% were undocumented migrants. of those undocumented people, 86% have been living in the u.s. for seven years or longer. many within what we might think of as traditional american families. 16.6 million americans live in families with at least one undocumented immigrants . $1.5 trillion is the amount that could be added to the gdp over ten years if the undocumented immigrants are granted legal status . while we wait, approximately 1,087 people are deported every day by the obama administration. coming up, does the president owe a debt to the dreamers? make a wish!