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Immigration Timeline
Ellis Island
Comment
November 16, 2007

Of course the 21st century is not the first to grapple with the issue of regulating immigration. In the late 19th and early 20th century, public opinion began to swell against the influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. In order to restrict immigration to the perceived "better" immigrant groups, Congress passed first the Quota Act of 1921 then the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act).

The 1924 law imposed a total quota on immigration of 165,000—less than 20 percent of the pre-World War I average. It also based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on the percentage of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census- before the large waves began to arrive from Southern and Eastern Europe. The result was obvious — between 1900 and 1910 an average of 200,000 Italians had entered the United States every year. After the 1924 Act, the annual quota for Italians was set at less than 4,000.

Explore the media timeline below for more on the history of American immigration. Mouse over image area to view captions. Click the gallery icon gallery icon to view more Moyers Journal content.

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>Curious what the 2008 candidates are saying about the immigration issue? Explore this Election Roundup from the NEW YORK TIMES

Published on November 16, 2007

References and Reading:
American Family Immigration History Center
Explore your family history by searching through passenger records, creating a family scrapbook, or reading about the immigrant experience - and think about what makes an American.

BECOMING AMERICAN: A Bill Moyers Special
In the saga of American immigration, the Chinese experience is relatively unknown. But it's a dramatic story of struggle and triumph, progress and setbacks, discrimination and assimilation.

Census Bureau
Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990

The Immigration and Naturalization Services
Access statistics related to immigration in America.

IN THE MIX
The PBS program IN THE MIX offers a timeline of the major events in the history of U.S. immigration - elsewhere on the site, an exploration of the present-day immigrant experience through the eyes of five teenagers.

American History Project
An extensive multimedia presentation about the changing face of American immigration from the Library of Congress.

ANCESTORS on PBS
The companion Web site to the PBS family history and genealogy television series offers many tips for those tracing their family's path.

The City - La Ciudad ON PBS
THE CITY (LA CIUDAD) tells stories of Latin American immigrants in the United States. The site offers profiles of those featured in the film and an extensive library of research resources, in both Spanish and English.

Beyond the Border on PBS
BEYOND THE BORDER - Más Allá de la Frontera traces the painful transition made by four sons in a Mexican family as they leave behind their parents and sisters and struggle to overcome cultural, class and language barriers in Kentucky.

Also This Week:

KATRINA RECOVERY GONE WRONG?
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL profiles a group known as The Steps Coalition, which is fighting on behalf of families who are still in need of housing, and examines what's happened to the money Congress sent to rebuild.
>Find out more about the fight to save one historic community in Mississippi

MANUEL VÁSQUEZ
A different take on immigration from sociologist and religious scholar Manuel Vásquez.
>Ask Professor Vásquez a question on the blog

>View an interactive immigration timeline

MEDIA OWNERSHIP RULES
The FCC Chairman is poised to relax rules — get the latest.

RETURN TO SENDER
What you can do to limit your catalog mail load and to help conserve natural resources.

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