Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

1808 – Foreign Slave Trade Becomes Illegal; 50,000 Slaves Become First “Illegal Aliens” in the US

“[T]he authors of the Constitution… protected the foreign slave trade, a major source of immigration, by prohibiting interference with it for twenty years (Article 1, Section 9). When that period expired, Congress, at President Jefferson’s invitation, promptly made that trade illegal, but did not interfere with either the domestic slave trade or slavery itself. The approximately 50,000 slaves smuggled into the United States after 1808 became the first illegal immigrants.”