1924 May 26

Discriminatory 1924 Immigration Act Passed


The 1924 Immigration Act, enacted on this day, is notorious in American history for its “national origins” quota system. By using the 1890 census as its baseline, the system favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, to the disadvantage of Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa (Latin Americans were unaffected by the law). Between 1900 and 1910, for example, about 100,000 people immigrated to the United States each year from Italy. After 1924, the number fell to 4,000 per year. Spain was limited to 131 immigrants and Greece 100 per year. The law built on the 1921 National Origins Quota Act. The 1924 bill passed the Senate by a vote of 62 to 6.

The national origins quota was finally eliminated with the Immigration Act of 1965, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law on October 3, 1965, in a ceremony at the Statue of Liberty.

Learn more about the 1924 Immigration Act here.

Learn more: Roger Daniels, Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants Since 1882 (2004)

Read about the racist foundations of the national origins quota: Madison Grant, Passing of the Great Race (1916)

Hear President Johnson sign the 1965 Immigration Act: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQNP5XKMNls

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!