do you think that the United States needed laws restricting immigration in the nineteeth century?can you list the kinds of restrictions actually imposed. do you agree with each restriction? why?...

do you think that the United States needed laws restricting immigration in the nineteeth century?

can you list the kinds of restrictions actually imposed. do you agree with each restriction? why? detailed answer pleasse :)

Asked on by shkr27

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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During the early 1900’s, a wave of nativism, or anti-immigrant sentiment, reached its height. After years of record immigration from Asia, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe, Americans began becoming angry and fearful of the tide of immigration swallowing up their culture and country. This fear was mainly sparked by labor leaders who feared that immigrants would drive down wages and chase their members out of jobs.

This is really the only argument one could make in favor of anti-immigration law. That immigrants, who are more easily taken advantage of and are willing to work for lower wages, could have an affect on the price of labor in the marketplace and lead to a decrease in wages. This could have forced many Americans below the poverty level as they were forced to take lower wages to compete with a growing immigrant labor pool. Immigrants were also reluctant to join unions or organize, and that could have potentially hurt the collective bargaining power that led to so many important labor reforms.

Congress responded to the anger and violence by passing a series of laws against immigrants. In 1882 the Chinese exclusionary act was passes, banning Chinese immigration. In 1907 a law banning Japanese immigration was passed. In 1917 a literacy test was introduced that you had to pass in order to immigrate to the country. Quotas were also introduced which favored Northern and Western Europe where the immigrants were more likely to be protestant or speak English. I would have to disagree with this system because it was clearly based on a racial predjudice as opposed to actual immigration patterns. A country has the right to regulate who comes into their nation, but race should not be one of the methods they use for selecting a quota.

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