The Emergency Quota Act 1921

The Emergency Quota Act 1921
Joseph Keppler’s 1882 cartoon “Uncle Sam’s Lodging-House” depicts the tension America was facing as a result of an influx of immigrants from around the world. The nation’s response took the form of restrictive immigration laws and, beginning in 1907, immigration quotas. | The Emergency Quota Act 1921

The Emergency Quota Act 1921

Through a national origins quota, the Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States. According to the 1890 national census, 2% of the total number of persons of each nationality in the United States were eligible for immigration permits. Immigrants from Asia were absolutely excluded.

Literacy Tests and “Asiatic Barred Zone”

The United States Congress passed the first comprehensive immigration statute in 1917. Because of the uncertainty about national security created by World War I, Congress was able to enact this bill, which included numerous key measures that opened the way for the 1924 Act. The 1917 Act imposed a literacy test on immigrants above the age of 16, requiring them to demonstrate basic reading ability in any language.

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