A Brief Timeline of U.S. Policy on Immigration and Naturalization. The law regarding immigration and citizenship started back in the 1700s. Back then, only white person can apply for citizenship but after almost 100 years later, the African American allowed to gain citizenship with the 14th Amendment Act. . To control the admission of immigrants, there laws such as Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), Immigration Act (1917), quotas and Immigration and Nationality Act (1952).