1901 December 3

President Theodore Roosevelt: Exclude and Deport Anarchists


President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech on this day calling for the exclusion and deportation of anarchists from the U.S. His support led to the Immigration Act of 1903 (see March 3, 1903), which became the model for subsequent restrictive immigration laws, including the 1918 Immigration Act, passed on October 16, 1918, and the infamously discriminatory Immigration Act of 1924, passed on May 26, 1924.

Essentially all political leaders in these years shared the fear of anarchism, which they associated with immigrants from Europe. See, for example, President Woodrow Wilson’s inflammatory anti-immigrant speech on December 7, 1915.

The notorious 1924 Immigration Act (May 26, 1924) imposed a restrict national origins quota system that discriminated against possible immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. During the Cold War, Congress passed the repressive McCarran-Walter Immigration Act (June 27, 1952), which tightened restrictions on the immigration of Communists and other alleged political radicals.

In the very different political climate of the 1960s, Congress passed the first significant non-discriminatory immigration act, which repealed the 1924 national origins quota system, and which President Lyndon Johnson signed on October 3, 1965, in a ceremony at the Statue of Liberty.

Learn more about anarchism in America: Paul Avrich, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (1995)

Learn more: Hans Vought, The Bully Pulpit and the Melting Pot: American Presidents and the Immigrant, 1897–1933 (2004)

Listen to Theodore Roosevelt on social and industrial justice:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5XlY4nKJI

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