The Immigration Act of 1924 declared this, “the number of each nationality who may be admitted annually is limited to 2 per cent of the population of such nationality resident in the united states according to the census of 1890” (A). There are many reasons why this was passed. Those Reasons being; the loss of American jobs, the inability to easily assimilate immigrants, and the prejudice of the groups and people of the time.
One reason for the passing of the Immigration Act of 1924 is the loss of American jobs. Immigrants of the time came to the United States looking to increase his lot in life, to become a better more wealthier man. “The standard of living of the working classes of the United States has been and still is superior to that of the nations which have furnished the bulk of the immigrants” (C). The only problem with the immigrants coming to America to work was the fact that there simply was not enough jobs for both the unemployed American workers and the immigrants. This causes a problem for the Americans as the immigrants take lower wages than that of the average worker. Naturally the business owners will hire the cheaper labor thus leaving the American worker unemployed. Many labor organizations such as the American Federation of Labor and the Junior Order of United American Mechanists (H) backed the act for just this reason; American jobs were going to immigrants fresh off the boat.
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The immigrants getting these American jobs’ were not, and did not in some cases want to be easily assimilated. “These alien peoples are temperamentally and racially unfitted for easy assimilation; that they are living in an age two or three centuries behind ours. They are white, they can read a few lines, and they have a few dollars – so in they come. We need three generations to educate, to crossbreed with Western strains and to assimilate a large number of those that we have here now” (F). Education seemed not to be the only problem. Many educated second generations immigrant men were still, racially and temperamentally, part of their nationality. Therefore the conclusion of this is that the United States needs to limit the amount of immigrants it lets in every day, week, month, and year. “The rank and file of these unassimilated aliens still live mentally in the ghetto or as peasants on the great estates…” (F).
Assimilation may have been hard, but getting certain groups of the time to except the immigrants would have been even harder. During this time period the Ku Klux Klan, and there ideas of white protestant supremacy were very popular. They were strongly against Catholics and Jews, and believed that those groups hated and wanted to rid the world of anything American. “Jews and Catholics are caustic in there criticism of anything American” (J). The Klan believed that the immigrants were a threat to their way of life. “…we are intolerant to anything that strikes at the foundations of our race, our country or our freedom of worship” (J). The KKK also believed that the immigrants were using our country, which America allowed them into, as a means to change it and gain power from it. “We are prejudiced against any attempt to use the privileges and opportunities which aliens hold only through our generosity as levers to force us to change our civilization” (J). The immigrants were not welcome in the United States during this time period.
The Ku Klux Klan feared that the immigrants would try to take power away from the white protestant dominated country that we had created here in the United States, this the loss of American jobs, and the inability to easily assimilate immigrants were the reasons for the passing of the Immigrant Restriction Law in congress. In a quick quote this whole paper can be explained, “We are standing behind you 100 per cent in your fight to make this coast a white man’s country ” (G).