The idea of equality equally for all citizens did not start to become a theme of American politics until the reconstruction period, and started to gain momentum as a central issue in politics after women’s suffrage and eventually the civil rights movement. Equality in America today is based on the political theme of a constitutional republic, not that of a democracy. In theory equality is granted to all citizens and immigrants equally, but in practice equality in America is for sale, and not at a price that average citizen can afford.
We are known as a nation of immigrants, a so called melting pot of cultures and races. The Irish and Italians who passed through Ellis Island in the early 20th century came for the promise of a better life and jobs. The political machine that ran New York City and its powerful connections to the federal government was only too happy to let them come to fill a void in the pool of cheap labor for the growing industrialism of our countries burgeoning economy.
The Chinese were allowed to immigrate in the same time period and settled in places like California and the western territories where they built the transcontinental railroads for extremely low wages and were treated like slaves. In more recent times we saw an explosion of wealth and prosperity in our economy and once again the need for cheap labor arose without having enough people to fill the jobs; which is due in part to the social welfare programs and break down of the family value system.
Essentially the American political machine and the big industry that lobbies and controls it knows it needs a constant supply of cheap labor in order to compete in a global economy. In summary those groups, cultures, and or races who are easiest to take advantage of due to their lack of numbers, education, or financial standing will always be treated as less than equal in the name of capitalism.