100 Years Ago Today, from Issues & Controversies in History:
IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1921: Government Sets First Quotas Restricting European Immigration
Was the Immigration Act of 1921 necessary, or unfair? Be sure to check out Issues & Controversies in History’s complete and unbiased coverage of this issue. Learn more about the issue and check out a sample of the pro/con arguments on both sides below.
In 1921, Congress passed a law limiting European immigration, particularly from southern and eastern Europe. Was the Immigration Act of 1921 necessary to protect the U.S. from a flood of “undesirable” immigrants? Or was it an unfair law that would hurt American businesses by depriving them of labor?
|Arguments in favor of the immigration act:||Arguments against the immigration act:|
|As many as 15 million Europeans are waiting to flood U.S. shores; they will overburden U.S. resources and take away jobs from Americans. Furthermore, most of those immigrants are southeastern European, and are inferior to the northern Europeans who previously constituted the majority of immigrants to the U.S. The southeastern European immigrants are mainly criminals and prostitutes, and will contribute to social problems in the U.S.||There is no flood of immigrants waiting to travel to the U.S. And even if there were, limitations in transportation would keep them from arriving in the U.S. in dangerous numbers. Furthermore, keeping out immigrants will only hurt the farms and businesses that depended on the immigrants for labor. The U.S. is a vast nation, and there is room for everyone. As a nation of immigrants, it would be unfair and unjust to deny other people the opportunities life in the U.S. offered.|
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