Immigration History

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jobs, come to the "Land of Opportunity"


“New Immigrants”: Southern and Eastern Europeans (Italians, Poles, Russian Jews, Greeks, Slavs, Eastern European Jews, Armenians) and Asians (Chinese, Japanese); most did not speak English


Most immigrants settled near the port of entry (East Coast/West Coast); only 2% went South


Were treated with little respect (taking away jobs, looked down upon for different cultural values); immigrants began to form their own communities

American Protective League – prejudiced against Catholics

German-Americans discriminated against during WWI

1919 – Red Scare – fear of Communists; Palmer Raids

1920s – reemergence of the KKK


Ellis Island opens; serves as processing center for 12 million immigrants over the next 30 years. 

Congress provided for the examination of immigrants and the excluding of convicts, polygamists, prostitutes, people suffering from diseases, and people liable to public charges


Under the Gentleman's Agreement with Japan, the United States agrees not to restrict Japanese immigration in exchange for Japan's promise not to issue passports to Japanese laborers for travel to the continental United States. Japanese laborer are permitted to go to Hawaii, but are barred by executive order from migrating from Hawaii to the mainland. 

Dillingham Report – reports that newer immigrants are less assailable than earlier immigrants, therefore immigrants should be restricted by nationality


Congress enacts a literacy requirement for immigrants over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The law requires immigrants to be able to read 40 words in some language. The law also specifies that immigration is prohibited from Asia, except from Japan and the Philippines. 


Emergency Quota Act limits annual European immigration to 3 percent of the number of a nationality group in the United States in 1910. 

Sacco and Vanzetti Case


National Origins Act of 1924 limits the number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890


National Origins Act of 1929 limits the total number of immigrants to 150,000; all Japanese barred

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