The nation has had immigration and naturalization laws from the beginning.
Art I, Sect 8. US Constitution
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,
The British were keeping pretty extensive immigration records when we were still a colony as well.
Right but up to the 1920’s immigration was basically free, other than basic security concerns which of course are valid. It seems to me that the whole welcoming spirit of America among so-called conservatives has changed.