The Jan. 26 editorial “Mr. Trump’s politicized immigration acts” said “a blanket ban would compromise this nation’s long-standing position as a sanctuary for desperate and innocent people.”
The Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, specifically placed immigration quotas on certain groups in an attempt to maintain a Protestant cultural identity in the United States. According to the Office of the Historian at the State Department, “The new quota calculations included large numbers of people of British descent whose families had long resided in the United States. As a result, the percentage of visas available to individuals from the British Isles and Western Europe increased, but newer immigration from other areas like Southern and Eastern Europe was limited.”
Two groups who may have been deemed in a desperate need for sanctuary in the United States were Italian immigrants attempting to flee fascist Italy and Jewish people of various European nationalities.
According to the Office of the Historian, “The 1924 Immigration Act also included a provision excluding from entry any alien who by virtue of race or nationality was ineligible for citizenship. Existing nationality laws dating from 1790 and 1870 excluded people of Asian lineage from naturalizing. As a result, the 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating — the Japanese in particular — would no longer be admitted to the United States.”
Steve Amoia, Gaithersburg