I would argue that in the late 1800s/early 1900s, racism, xenophobia, and a growing economic crisis led to increased tensions in the United States, with immigrants being scapegoated for economic struggles. While the United States is known as a welcoming country with freedom and equal rights for all people, that has not always been the case. Slavery and anti-immigrant violence in the US are examples of times when some US citizens throughout history have enacted racism and xenophobic violence. In the seventeenth-century colonial America, only white men (at the time meaning men who immigrated from England) who owned property were able to participate in the political process of the colonies. As time passed, the definition of white began to expand from only Anglo-Americans to include other Western and Northern European descended people. However, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Southern European and Eastern European immigrants were still considered to be second-class citizens and were often treated cruelly by Anglo-Americans.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Eastern and Southern European and Chinese immigrants arrived to the United States. Chinese people, as well as Jews and other ethnic groups from Southern and Eastern Europe were not treated with the respect that those considered "white" were afforded in society. These immigrants often worked the most grueling and low paying jobs and would take less pay than their white counterparts. Some white Americans believed that their jobs were being taken by the new wave of immigrants. They blamed a new wave of immigrants for economic problems and were quick to be hostile to the newly arrived immigrants. Jews, Italians, Greeks, and Chinese were often called racial slurs, attacked on the streets, denied entrance to public places, and sometimes denied jobs in favor of Americans considered white.