Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Closing of the Gates: The Immigration Act of 1924

President Coolidge signs the Immigration Act of 1924

On May 26, 1924President Calvin Coolidge (Republican) signed the Immigration Act of 1924 into law, legislation that greatly restricted immigration into the United States, particularly Non-European immigration outside the Western Hemisphere. Also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, the law restricted the number of immigrants, and from where immigrants could come.   

In particular, the 1924 law restricted immigrants by national origin in accordance to a strict formula. The formula mandated that annual immigration from a given country could not exceed 2% of the number of American residents whose national origins were that given given country in 1890. The national origins quotas ensured that most immigrants would be from the British Isles, and the western, northern, and central parts of Europe.

By 1929, the overall limit of quota immigrants was set at 150,000 per year. The number of quota immigrants from a given country was set in proportion that country's national origin share per the 1920 Census.

The Immigration Act of 1924, with only some modification, became the law that governed U.S immigration until 1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965, thus abolishing the national origins quotas.

Immigration Quotas after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924

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