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President Calvin Coolidge signing the Immigration Act of 1924
President Coolidge signs the Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the National Origins Act or the Johnson-Reed Act, limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890 according to the census of 1890. It superseded the 1921 Emergency Quota Act. The law was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s, as well as East Asians and Asian Indians, who were prohibited from immigrating entirely. It set no limits on immigration from Latin America. (text and photograph from Wikipedia) -___ “Upon signing the Act, President Calvin Coolidge commented, ‘America must remain American.’ This phrase would become the rallying cry of anti-immigration sentiment until after World War II.” ----------------------------------------- “When Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1924, he held up a foreign law as a model for his program of racial purification: The U.S. Immigration Restriction Act of 1924… When the Nazis took power in 1933, they installed a program of eugenics--the attempted "improvement" of the population through forced sterilization and marriage controls--that consciously drew on the U.S. example... Small wonder that the Nazi laws led one eugenics activist in Virginia to complain, "The Germans are beating us at our own game."” We will return in more detail to the impact of this restrictive immigration law on European Jewry when the topic turns to the Holocaust. One result not often discussed was that, beyond providing a fig leaf for the administration to hide behind as justifying inaction, the fact that the leading democracy in the west, representative of the humanistic and liberal ideals, the fact that the one country that might have provided a model of moral and ethical behavior instead set an example for other potential countries of refuge (tiny Bolivia was the exception having admitted some 30,000 Jews between 1938 and 1941) to also close their borders. Such theatrical gestures by the administration as the Bermuda Conference and that “too little-too late” afterthought the War Refugee Board were mere window dressing intended to placate critics at home, and particularly America’s mostly impotent Jewish community themselves fearful of antisemitism sweeping the United States, even as Europe’s Jews were being murdered. READ MORE HERE-
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