Immigration in the United
1865-1915 13.5 million immigrants arrived in America
S ee handout
• Reasons for immigration
• Post Industrialization era
led to overcrowding in
• Mechanization Less
• 80% came from Europe
came to U.S.
Why Get out ?
• 1. Overcrowding Europe
• 2. Natural Disasters
• 3. Economic opportunity
• 4. Political unrest in
• 5. Religious Persecution
• Romance & Adventure
• Cheap land (Oklahoma
• Myths/legends of U.S.
• Fast Growth in Cities
• Religious Tolerance
• Rules for harmony.
• Economic Opportunity
• Last Hope
Many Immigrants brought the entire family, some would send just
1 or 2 family members in hope they would “make it” and then send
for the rest. Many times they spent their entire life’s savings to get
to America. Most came steerage class (3rd class); cheap,
uncomfortable, unsanitary, and crowded; disease and even death
was not uncommon.
Ellis Island, New York City (1892-1954) 12 million
immigrants would come through here. 70% of all European
immigrants passed through Ellis Island. 2% were rejected.
• In 1905 an extra $20 would buy you the
status of cabin class. That would exempt you
from being processed in America.
• 3rd class passengers quickly learned that
money caused you to be treated differently in
• “Isn’t it strange that we are coming to a country where there is
equality, but not quite so for the poor newly arriving immigrant.”
Quote from 3rd class passenger
was often the
part of the
whole trip as
this is where
you found out
if you were
Inspection Station Ellis Island
• Long Lines –2 minutes
per inspection, marked
with chalk and seperated
by the ailment they were
suspected to have.
• 32 questions
• Lines divided into
• Names were often
changed as the spelling
was a struggle
Old Immigrants - Northern
European – Prior to 1880
• W.A.S.P = White Anglo-
• Superior attitude
• “Know Nothing party”
designed to discriminate
against Roman Catholic
• Believed they were a
New Immigrants -Southern and
Eastern Europe – After 1880 –
Beginning of the clash
• Italians, Slavs, Greeks
• Different in beliefs and
• Long-stem hatred from
ancestry in Europe.
• Different beliefs and
• Competition for work
also fueled the
• “ The immigrants are
an invasion of
long haired, wild
eyed, bad smelling ,
wretches, who never
did a day’s work in
• Literacy Tests
• Low wages, unsafe
conditions, paid for
mistakes or behavior.
• No Overtime, worked
• Uneducated and had
no way out.
• No civil rights.
Immigration and Politics
• Creation of political
• Ward Bosses
• Supplied money, jobs,
advice and favors =
• City councils
dominated by Bosses
Cities/Slums • First low income
• Inadequate sanitation
• Overcrowded, crime
filled, and disease
• By 1900 4 out of 5
residents of New York
City were immigrants or
children of immigrants.
• “1,231 people in a 120
• New York City had
twice as many Irish as
Dublin, More Italians
• Established ethnic
• New York City built of
Immigrants. Still today
a city of diversity.
People felt more
comfortable with people
of similar values and
customs. This also
made it easier for
stereotypes to exist.
“5 cents a spot”
Immigrant tenement housing
Immigrant Working Conditions
• Took jobs nobody
else wanted and
for a fraction of the
pay; textiles mills,
• Average pay 10
cents per hour
55 hours a week.
• Between 1880 –
people were killed
on the job.
Child labor at a textile mill.
Child Labor at a Lumber Mill
Child Labor at a textile mill
Chinese Immigrants Settled on the West Coast
They came through Angel Island in San Francisco.
• Many escaping the same
problems facing the
civil warfare but also
romance of “Gold”.
• 1877 17% of CA’s
population was Chinese.
• 1882 Chinese Exclusion
Act forbade Chinese to
2 Cultural Theories of
• Melting Pot: • Salad Bowl:
• Assimilate into • Keep own native
“American” culture. culture.
• English Language • Customs and
must be spoken and traditions are kept
American traditions alive and nurtured.
observed. • Native language
U S. Immigration Laws
1740 naturalization act for America required residence for seven years, sworn
loyalty to the Crown, evidence of Christianity; Catholics were excluded from
1774 immigration to the colonies prohibited
1790 naturalization restricted to "free white persons." Required two-years
1795 residency extended to five years
1798 Alien and Sedition Acts. Resident aliens suspected of being subversives could
be expelled. Residency extended to fourteen years.
1802 reinstated five-year waiting period
1808 federal government made slave trade illegal
1819 Steerage Act regulated conditions on ships entering American ports
1862 American vessels forbidden to transport Chinese immigrants to the U.S.
1868 Passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, "All persons born or naturalized in
the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United
States and of the State wherein they reside."
Immigration Laws Cont.
• 1875 Page Law. Prohibited transporting convicts and prostitutes to America. Strict
interpretation barred Chinese wives as well as prostitutes.
• 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act (repeal 1943); not even for family reunification. Ten year
exclusion period for Chinese laborers.
• 1882 general immigration act barred paupers, criminals, insane; levied a tax on each
immigrant arriving by vessel at a U.S. port
• 1884 all Chinese travelers carry official documents showing profession and
• 1885 87,88,91 Alien Contract Labor Laws prohibit people from entering to work
under contracts. 1888 no reentry for Chinese laborer or former resident without wife,
children, parents, or property
• valued over $1000 in the U.S.
• 1891 Immigration Act--medical inspection of immigrants and exclusion of
polygamists, those suffering from a dangerous disease, or convicted of moral
• 1892 Chinese Exclusion Act extended for another ten years; Chinese laborers in
U.S. required to
• have certificate of residence
• 1902 Chinese Exclusion Act extended indefinitely
• 1903 Immigration Act barred anarchists and those who believe in the overthrow by
force or violence of the government.
Immigration Laws Cont.
• 1908 unwritten diplomatic agreement, Japan would not issue passports to
Japanese laborers wishing to come to the U.S. There would also be no
immigration from Japan's protectorate in Korea
• 1917 Immigration Act. Set literacy test for reading English "or some other
language or dialect, including Hebrew or Yiddish." Created Asiatic Barred
Zone which excluded immigrants from India, Indochina, the East Indies,
Polynesia, parts of Russia, Arabia, and Afghanistan. Kept out anyone likely
to become a public charge.
• 1918 Anti-Anarchist Act excluded subversive aliens
• 1920 Anti-Anarchist Act--deportation of those with materials advocating
violent overthrow of government
• 1921 National Origins Act-separate quotas for people from each nation
based on 3% of the total foreign-born population in the U.S. in 1910.
Excluded from quota tourists, diplomats, minor children of citizens, and
Asians already excluded. There was no restriction on those from the
• 1924 Amendments to National Origins Act--No persons ineligible for
citizenship (including Japanese) were allowed to enter. Quotas were revised
downward to 2% of the foreign-born population. Still no restriction on the
Americas. Fully implemented in 1929, 82% of the visas went to northern
and western Europe, 16% southern and eastern Europe, and 2% to the rest
of the world. Persons ineligible to become citizens were barred.
Immigration Laws Cont.
• 1929 became possible for illegal entrants in the U.S. since
• 1921 to legalize their status
• 1940 Alien Registration Act--unlawful to advocate overthrow of the U.S.;
deport aliens who refuse to register and be fingerprinted.
• 1941 refuse visas to aliens who would endanger public safety
• 1943 repeal of Chinese Exclusion Act; Chinese eligible for naturalization for
• 1943 Bracero Program--temporary guest worker program allowed workers
from Mexico in fields
• and railways, those from British Honduras, Barbados, and Jamaica in
• 1945 War Brides Act allowed veterans to bring spouses and children above
the quota numbers.
• 1946 allowed entry of those engaged to veterans; immigration quotas for
India and the Philippines;
• Chinese wives of American citizens not part of quota
• 1948 Displaced Persons Act--preference to Baltic states while excluding
more than 90 percent of displaced Jews; those admitted to be deducted from
• 1950 eliminated racial impediment to American citizenship for those from
Guam; all born there since 1899 became U.S. citizens
• 1950 Internal Security Act--kept out present or past members of a
Immigration Laws Cont.
• 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act/McCarren-Walter Act
repealed and codified earlier laws; removed all remaining racial
prohibitions, but retained quotas; felony to bring in illegal aliens;
first 50% of quota to those with skills considered valuable to
the'U.S., rest to relatives of citizens and residents.
• 1953 Refugee Relief Act-214,000 visas to victims of war and
disaster, not counted against individual quotas
• 1958 permanent immigrant status for 30,000 Hungarian
• 1962 Migration and Refugee Assistance Act--facilitated
resettlement of Cubans and other international refugees
• 1965 Immigration Reform Act--the amendments abolished
quotas, also eliminated restrictions on Asians. Stressed family
reunification. Allowed 120,000 immigrants from the Western
Hemisphere, 170,000 from the rest of world; outside the
Americas no country was to exceed 20,000. A welcome for
extended families from Latin America and Asia.
• 1966 Cuban Refugees Act established procedures for Cuban
parolees to become permanent legal residents.
Immigration Laws Cont.
• 1973 ended preference for the Western Hemisphere; no country to exceed 20,000 at
a time when 62,000 were coming from Mexico each year.
• 1976 Immigration Act. Immigration limited to 20,000 for each country in the Americas
• 1977 Indochinese Refugee Act allowed Indochinese refugees to become permanent
resident aliens, rather than "parolees" under the Attorney General's emergency
• 1980 Refugee Act. Routine admission for 50,000 refugees annually. The number
could be raised in consultation with Congress. Not just those fleeing communism or
the Middle East, but anyone who fled because of a well-founded fear of persecution
due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group membership--ifthey
were deemed of "special humanitarian concern to the United States."
• 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act gave legal status to those in the U.S. since
January 1, 1982, making them eligible for eventual citizenship. Also, anyone who
worked in "perishable agriculture" for ninety days prior to May 1986 qualified for
legalization. The law prohibited employers from hiring illegal aliens. Authorized up to
5,000 supplemental visas annually for two years for countries from which immigration
had dropped since 1965. Set aside 10,000 visas for "adversely affected" countries;
36 countries were invited to participate in a lottery.
Immigration Laws Cont.
• 1990 Immigration Act amended the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952,
which remains the basic law. The new law raised the total number of
numerically limited immigrants entering the U.S. annually in FY 1992-94 to
700,000 (excluding refugees whose admission numbers are announced
annually and some others not subject to limitation). The visas were
distributed as follows: 465,000 for family immigrants; 55,000 for the spouses
and children of aliens legalized under IRCA [Immigration and Control Act of
1986]; 140,000 for employment- based immigrants; 40,000 for nationals from
"adversely affected" countries. Beginning in FY 1995 the number dropped
from 700,000 to 675,000. These visas were distributed as follows: 480,000
for family immigrants; 140,000 for employment-based immigrants; 55,000 for
"diversity immigrants." Under the latter category, the allotment of FY 1995
visa numbers for each region was as follows: Africa 20,200; Asia 6,837;
Europe 24,549; North America (Bahamas) 8; South, Central, and Caribbean
America 2,589; and Oceania 817.
• 1996. Strengthened border patrols, restricted judicial authority to review
deportation cases, set greater penalties for the smuggling of immigrants and
voting by noncitizens. 1997. Resident aliens with felony convictions may be
1997. Refugees from civil wars in Central America exempted from
deportation rules; illegal immigrants on track to become legal residents are
able to apply for visas in the U.S. without going home