Immigration Act of 1924

(1924)

The Immigration Act of 1924, sometimes called the National Origins Act or the Johnson-Reed Act after its congressional sponsors, Representative Albert Johnson (1869–1957) and Senator David Reed (1880–1953), was designed to restrict immigration to the United States. Since the 1890s immigration had been a heated issue. Millions of new immigrants were passing through Ellis Island, the New York City port where immigrants were admitted to the country. Most of these immigrants were from southern and eastern Europe; to Americans from the old immigrant countries of northern Europe, the new immigrants were bringing nothing but dirt, disease, crime, Communist sympathies, anarchism, labor strife, and agitation. The so-called Red scares of the late 1910s and early 1920s seemed to confirm this prejudice, as did the notorious case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants accused of a payroll heist but who may have been convicted and executed simply because of Red...

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Jewish immigrants being examined by doctors at Ellis Island (Library of Congress)

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