That was essentially the standard until 1921, when we tied immigration to the 1910 census. The 1910 census documented the ethnic background of Americans; many in Congress were worried that our ethnicity was changing too rapidly and with too many of the wrong people. Think: Italians, Greeks, swarthy people. (Yes, “swarthy people” was considered a definition of ethnicity back then. This law, amended in 1924, remained in place until 1965.
Learn more about the DREAM Act : http://www.americasnewsonline.com/immigration-reform-what-is-the-dream-act-909/
Google and learn even more about the DREAM Act : http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS252&q=DREAM+Act
History of Immigration in the U.S.: http://search.aol.com/aol/search?query=u.s. immigration law history&q=u.s. immigration law history