1556: First permanent European settlement by Spain in Florida
1598: Spanish settlements in Texas and New Mexico
1607: English settlements in Jamestown, Va.
1620: Plymouth created by Puritans
1699: French settlement in Louisiana
1790: Naturalization Act. Free white persons of good moral character could be citizens after two years .
1798: Alien and Sedition Acts. President allowed to deport any immigrant deemed dangerous to the U.S.
1819: Steerage Act. All immigrants arriving on ships had to be reported to the Secretary of State and Congress
1819: U.S. acquires Florida from Spain
1845: Annexation of Texas
1846-48: Mexican-American War: Mexico surrenders parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada and Texas.
1862: Homestead Act. Free plots of land in the West for settlers
1882: Chinese Exclusion Act. Eliminated immigration from China for 10 years and didn’t allow Chinese immigrants to become citizens.
1891: Immigration Act. Allowed for deportation of illegal immigrants.
1903: Anarchist Exclusion Act. Bars political extremists and anarchists from U.S.
1906: Naturalization Act. Makes English a requirement for naturalization
1917: Immigration Act of 1917. Required literacy test and barred all laborers from Asia.
1921: The Quota Law: Capped immigration to 350,000 per year, including limiting immigration from a country to 3 percent of that ancestry already in the United States
1924: The National Origins Act. Capped immigration to 165,000 per year
1924: U.S. Border Patrol created
1940: The Alien Registration Act. Required registration and fingerprinting of foreigners 14 and older.
1942-1964: Bracero Program. Allowed for temporary contract laborers from Mexico to enter U.S.
1943: Chinese Exclusion Act repealed.
1948: Displaced Persons Act. Allowed 205,000 refugees primarily from Soviet Union.
1952: The Immigration and Nationality Act. The annual quota for each country outside the Western Hemisphere was set at one-sixth of one percent of the number of persons of that ancestry living in the United States as of 1920.
1954: “Operation Wetback”: Federal government deports 1 million Mexican immigrants
1965: The Immigration and Nationality Act. Numerical restrictions remained but it eliminated basing it on national origin, ancestry and race. Created the preference system for relatives and legal residents which is still in place.
1975: Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. Resettlement program for Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees.
1976: Amendments to the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Extended limitation on immigration to the Western Hemisphere.
1980: Refugee Act. Congress set a ceiling on refugees admitted and established the asylum system.
1982: U.S. Supreme Court rules in Plyer vs. Doe. Denied a Texas statute denying funding for education to undocumented children. Supreme Court had a 5-4 majority ruling finding the policy in violation of the 14th Amendment.
1986: Immigration Reform and Control Act. Illegal immigrants in U.S. since 1982 could apply for legal status. Created sanctions against employers who knowingly hired unauthorized immigrants. Increased border enforcement.
1990: Immigration Act of 1990. Raised annual cap on immigration to 700,000 per year
1996: The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Redefined aggravated felonies for immigrants. Created three and 10-year bars to reentry for immigrants illegally in the U.S. and ramped up border enforcement, among other things.
1998: Congress phases out 245i. Eliminated undocumented immigrants from refiling their status and paying a fine to qualify for a green card.
2001: Patriot Act. Increased personnel and technology at immigrant checkpoints.
2001: DREAM Act first introduced. Fails in Congress.
2002: Homeland Security Act. Transferred functions of the INS to the Department of Homeland Security.
2002: The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act. Travel documents had to machine readable and tamper resistant.
2003: Colorado’s Asset Bill fails for the first time
2003: Dream Act fails.
2004: Asset Bill fails for the second time
2005: REAL ID Act of 2005. States required proof of citizenship to get a driver’s license.
2005: Asset Bill fails for the third time
2005: DREAM Act fails.
2005: Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act. Criminalized the assistance of undocumented immigrants, required verification of employee social security numbers. Required state and local authorities enforcement of federal immigrations and added additional border fence. Failed after getting passed by House of Representatives.
2006: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. Introduced temporary worker program, put in place a procedure for undocumented immigrants to earn legalization and increased number of employment based visas. Passed by the U.S. Senate. Failed.
2006: Secure Fence Act. Additional 850 miles of fencing along U.S.-Mexico border.
2006: Arizona passes Proposition 300, prohibiting undocumented students from qualifying for in-state tuition. Colorado follows suit.
2007: DREAM Act fails.
2007: Senate Bill to overhaul immigration fails.
2008: Asset Bill fails for fourth time
2009: Asset Bill fails for the fifth time
2010: DREAM Act fails.
2012: Asset Bill fails for the sixth time
2012: The Obama administration implements Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
2013: Asset Bill passes the Colorado State House. Expected to be signed into law by the governor.