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Immigration and National Origins

Helen F. Eckerson
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 367, The New Immigration (Sep., 1966), pp. 4-14
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1034838
Page Count: 11
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Immigration and National Origins
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Abstract

National-origins provisions of immigration law have often been considered the controlling factor in immigration since 1930. When such provisions became effective under the Immigration Act of 1924, quotas were established based on the national origin of white persons recorded in the Census of 1920. The volume of immigration was definitely reduced by the quota provisions, but the selection in the proper proportions according to the national-origins provisions has never been successful. Countries given large quotas seldom have used half of their quota numbers, so that, even in the years of highest quota immigration, only two-thirds of the quotas could be used. Congress provided that spouses and children of United States citizens should not be debarred from entry by the quota system. Such immigrants brought about a further departure from the national-origins plan. In order to meet the United States' moral obligation for refugees and displaced persons, Congress enacted legislation which permitted the admission of such victims of war and Communist domination. Their numbers also served to pull immigrant distribution by countries farther from the desires of the proponents of national-origins quotas. Emigration from Western Hemisphere countries, unrestricted by quotas, in total has been equal to 73 per cent of quota immigration since the national-origins quotas were established. Under recent legislation, the national-origins plan will be abandoned, and by July 1, 1968, immigrants will be admitted in the order in which they file applications for visas, regardless of their countries of birth.

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