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Immigration Has Racist Roots

September 7, 2021

Julissa Arce is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and social justice advocate. She was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in August 2014. She immigrated from Mexico at the age of 11 followed by nearly 15 years in the U.S. as undocumented. In her 2016 book, My (Underground) American Dream, she tells her story of becoming a Wall Street executive while being an undocumented immigrant.

The record of racism America goes back to 1790 when the first Congress stated that only “free white persons” could be naturalized. Arce summarized a history that includes national origin quotas enacted in 1920 and the significant ways that labor needs and economics have driven immigration policy—especially related to Mexico.