Immigration Act of 1924

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The Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson–Reed Act, was a United States federal law that prevented immigration from Asia, set a total immigration quota of 165,000 for countries outside the Western Hemisphere (an 80% reduction from the pre-World War I average), set quotas for specific countries based on the percentage of the U.S. population from that country as recorded in 1890, and provided funding and enforcement to carry out earlier restrictions.

Critics often try to frame it as being exclusively based on Nordicism. While this was one of the arguments made by some supporters, there were also other anti-immigration arguments, such regarding the problems with a high ethnic heterogeneity.

According to the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, the purpose of the act was "to preserve the ideal of U.S. homogeneity".

Furthermore, Kevin MacDonald has written that "In the 1924 debates, the anti-restrictionists invariably alleged that their opponents saw the issue primarily in terms of “Nordic superiority.” [...] But in reality, the contentions the political champions of restriction actually made were quite different—and much more modest. Their basic argument was that, while all ethnic groups in the country had legitimate interests in immigration, the interests of the founding groups made restriction imperative. The restrictionists actually went out of their way to deny that they believed they were racially superior to other groups. [...] One is struck in reading the 1924 Congressional debate that, while virtually all of the anti-restrictionists raised the issue of Nordic racial superiority, those in favor of the legislation rarely did. [...] What can be found in the statements of the reformers is actually fear of inferiority. Several representatives from the far West seem to have viewed the Japanese as racially equal or superior, not inferior. [...] Nor did the restrictionists view Jews as intellectually inferior. [...] If anything, restrictionists were worried that the immigration of more Jews from Eastern Europe would result in even more competition between Jews and non-Jews. [...] Restrictionists typically argued that maintaining the ethnic status quo would be fair to all ethnic groups currently in the country. This argument implicitly recognizes that different ethnic groups have different interests in immigration policy. The restrictionists were concerned that immigration of people of other ethnic groups and cultures would ultimately deprive their own people of political and cultural power. They argued that the interests of other groups to pursue their ethnic interests by expanding their percentage of the population should be weighed against the ethnic interests of the majority, who naturally wanted to retain their ethnic representation in the population."[1]

Jews were very influential in opposing the legislation, which was also remarked upon.[1]


The instinct for national and race preservation is not one to be condemned, as has been intimated here. No one should be better able to understand the desire of Americans to keep America American than the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Sabath], who is leading the attack on this measure, or the gentlemen from New York, Mr. Dickstein, Mr. Jacobstein, Mr. Celler, and Mr. Perlman. They are of the one great historic people who have maintained the identity of their race throughout the centuries because they believe sincerely that they are a chosen people, with certain ideals to maintain, and knowing that the loss of racial identity means a change of ideals. That fact should make it easy for them and the majority of the most active opponents of this measure in the spoken debate to recognize and sympathize with our viewpoint, which is not so extreme as that of their own race, but only demands that the admixture of other peoples shall be only of such kind and proportions and in such quantities as will not alter racial characteristics more rapidly than there can be assimilation as to ideas of government as well as of blood.
—Representative Scott Leavitt .[1]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Was the 1924 Immigration Cut-off "Racist"?
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