Immigration in the 1920s

Large surge in immigration after WWI

Early Immigration- Ellis Island

Immigration to the United States really picked up in the 1880s. In 1882, Congress had to pass a law to restrict who could immigrate into the United States of America, excluding convicts, lunatics, idiots and paupers. The federal government opened up Ellis Island in 1892 in New York to process the skyrocketing number of people seeking to enter the country.

Angel Island-1910

Angel Island was said to have been created to process incoming immigrants on the West Coast. In reality, it was a detention facility to enforce the tight restrictions on Chinese immigration. It was not uncommon for Chinese immigrants to be interrogated and detained on this island from a few weeks to two years. Although many different nationalities traveled through this island about 90% of the detainees were Chinese.

Immigration in Post-war America

After the Great War, many Americans became almost xenophobic in their efforts to snuff out any language other than English. 15 states, including Iowa and Nebraska passed laws to restrict the languages spoken in public and private skills to English. By 1919, 800 "Americanization committees" were working hard in industrial plants across the nation. The Anti-foreign atmosphere got to the point where companies instilled policies to "gradually discharge all foreigners, even if naturalized" with support of some state legislatures.

Emergency Quota Act of 1921

Originally intended as a temporary law the act proved itself useful in the long run. This
Act put numerical limits on the immigrants allowed from each country every year, this was called the quota system and to determine the quota they used the National Origins Formula. The Act included only Northern and Southern European countries because countries in Asia were already limited by the Asiatic Barred Zone Act.

Immigration Act of 1924

This Act took the 3% cap set by the Emergency Quota Act which was based on the 1890 census, and cut it to 2%, based on the same census. It was primarily put into place to further restrict Immigration of Southern Europeans but also severely restricted the amount of Arabs, Indians, East Asians and Africans