Legislation Restricting Immigration

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The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921

In 1921, Congress passed the Emergency Immigration Act, which put a cap on the number of immigrants that were allowed into the United States based on country of origin (Hing 2004). This act also states that immigrants from certain countries were not allowed into the United States, showing nativist ideas by excluding large groups of people based on their native countries. The first of many pieces of legislation passed in the 1920s, this act begins the legal action taken to limit the number of immigrants in America following a long period of mass immigration. Due to this large increase in immigration seen, many Americans felt threatened by foreigners, thinking that they were going to take over the American culture (Hing 2004). This source relates to nativism by emulating the views of Americans in the 1920s, fed up and scared that their culture would be overtaken by immigrants.

That the number of aliens of any nationality who may be admitted under the immigration laws to the United States in any fiscal year shall be limited to 3 per centum of the number of foreign-born persons of such nationality resident in the United States as determined by the United States census of 1910.

Link to full source: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/67th-congress/Session%201/c67s1ch8.pdf

Joint resolution extending the Immigration Reform Act of 1921

The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 was passed as a quick way to limit the number of immigrants coming into America, created by a rising fear from American citizens. The act was not meant to be long term, resulting in an extension of the original act which was passed in late 1921(Hing 2004). This extension continued the legislation passed in the original act until June of 1924, and states that anyone harboring or helping immigrants to illegally enter the country would be fined and have to face serious consequences. The extension further shows the beliefs of nativism by continuing to exclude foreigners to enter the country, additionally threatening American citizens to not help immigrants unless they were willing to pay the price (Hing 2004). By extending the act to three years in the future, the American government was attempting to show its power and dominance over the growing immigration population, believing that keeping foreigners out of the country would result in a solution to the many problems facing the country.

That the operation of the Act entitled “An Act to limit the immigration of aliens into the United States,” approved May 19, 1921, is extended to and including June 30, 1924.

SEC. 3. That such Act of May 19, 1921, is amended by adding at the end thereof a new section to read as follows:

“SEC. 6. That it shall be unlawful for any person, including any transportation company other than railway lines entering the United States from foreign contiguous territory, or the owner, master, agent, or consignee of any vessel, to bring to the United States either from a foreign country or any insular possession of the United States any alien not admissible under the terms of this Act or regulations made thereunder,”

Link to full source: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/67th-congress/Session%202/c67s2ch187.pdf

Commissioner of Immigration v. Gottlieb

In 1924, the Emergency Immigration Act was still in effect, putting a limit on the number of immigrants that were allowed into the United States. This source is a supreme court case from the early 1920s debating whether or not a minister’s wife and child were allowed to come into the United States to be reunited with their husband/father, despite the quota for their country having already been reached. The court ruled in favor of the law, stating that they were not allowed to enter the country. This source shows the direct consequences of the acts listed above, showing nativism in the form of government power. This court case, and many others like it, show the effects that nativist beliefs had on families and their livelihoods, splitting people up and not allowing them to reunite in America. Additionally, it is also possible to see the extent to which people’s negative schemas about immigrants took a toll on everyone involved.

They were ordered discharged. – This judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 285 Fed. 295.

That court reached its conclusion by considering § 3. of the Act of 1917, c. 29, 39 Stat. 874, 875, in pari materia with § 2 (d) of the Act of 1921. Section 3 of the earlier act enumerates various classes of aliens who are excluded from admission into the United States, among them all persons from certain Asiatic territory with specified exceptions.

Link to full source:http://cdn.loc.gov/service/ll/usrep/usrep265/usrep265310/usrep265310.pdf