We’ve been here be­fore

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

The Jan. 26 ed­i­to­rial “Mr. Trump’s politi­cized im­mi­gra­tion acts” said “a blan­ket ban would com­pro­mise this na­tion’s long-stand­ing po­si­tion as a sanc­tu­ary for des­per­ate and in­no­cent peo­ple.”

The Im­mi­gra­tion Act of 1924, also known as the John­son-Reed Act, specif­i­cally placed im­mi­gra­tion quo­tas on cer­tain groups in an at­tempt to main­tain a Protes­tant cul­tural iden­tity in the United States. Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of the His­to­rian at the State De­part­ment, “The new quota cal­cu­la­tions in­cluded large num­bers of peo­ple of Bri­tish de­scent whose fam­i­lies had long resided in the United States. As a re­sult, the per­cent­age of visas available to in­di­vid­u­als from the Bri­tish Isles and Western Europe in­creased, but newer im­mi­gra­tion from other ar­eas like South­ern and Eastern Europe was lim­ited.”

Two groups who may have been deemed in a des­per­ate need for sanc­tu­ary in the United States were Ital­ian im­mi­grants at­tempt­ing to flee fas­cist Italy and Jewish peo­ple of var­i­ous European na­tion­al­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of the His­to­rian, “The 1924 Im­mi­gra­tion Act also in­cluded a pro­vi­sion ex­clud­ing from en­try any alien who by virtue of race or na­tion­al­ity was in­el­i­gi­ble for cit­i­zen­ship. Ex­ist­ing na­tion­al­ity laws dat­ing from 1790 and 1870 ex­cluded peo­ple of Asian lin­eage from nat­u­ral­iz­ing. As a re­sult, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not pre­vi­ously pre­vented from im­mi­grat­ing — the Ja­panese in par­tic­u­lar — would no longer be ad­mit­ted to the United States.” Steve Amoia, Gaithers­burg

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