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Profile America — Sunday, August 3rd. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Poet Emma Lazarus composed those words in 1883 to help raise funds for a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. But on this date just a year earlier, Congress enacted one of the first immigration limitations in our history. The law barred entry to people thought likely to become what is called a "public charge," or burden on society. Immigration laws have been much revised since 1882 and remain a topic of great political contention to this day. But the U.S. has for some time accepted more immigrants than any other nation. Of the roughly 309 million residents counted in the 2010 Census of Population, nearly 40 million were foreign-born and another 40 million were naturalized citizens or noncitizen immigrants. Profile America is in its 17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Kane's Famous First Facts, 5867