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Emergency Quota Act of 1921

The Immigration Act of 1921, sometimes called the Emergency Quota Act, was a highly restrictive law that evolved from suggestions made by the U.S. Immigration Commission in 1911.

It set, for the first time, some numerical limits on immigration by establishing an annual quota for persons from each country outside the Western Hemisphere at three percent of the number of foreign-born persons from that country who were counted in the 1910 census.

The maximum number of quota immigrants under this law was 387,803 in any one year. No quotas were given for Asian countries, and persons born in the Western Hemisphere or who had lived in a country of the Western Hemisphere for at least one year could come in freely if they were otherwise eligible. The act was supposed to expire after one year, but was extended until 1924.

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Background and History

  • Emigration
  • Against Immigration Restrictions Based on National Origins
    Introduction: Because the emergency Quota Act of 1921 had not proved to be an effective tool for limiting immigration, especially from the countries of southern and eastern Europe, Congress began to consider other devices for... more
  • The Endless Flood
    HISTORY TEACHES THAT MARKET FORCES EVENTUALLY SWAMP WHATEVER BARRICADES U.S. LAWMAKERS PUT IN THE WAY OF IMMIGRANTS EAGER TO WORK HERE. more
  • Emergency Quota Act of 1921
    Emergency Quota Act of 1921 American History Documents II... more
  • Immigration: Shaping and Reshaping America
    A bout 95,000 foreigners a day arrive in the United States, but most do not intend to stay long. More than 90,000 are nonimmigrant tourists, business people, students, and workers who are welcomed at airports and border crossings. About... more
  • Important Dates in American Immigration History
    40,000-10,000 B.C. Scholars assume that during this period the Western Hemisphere was first settled by humans who migrated from eastern Asia to Alaska and points east and south. These were the ancestors of the various Native American... more
  • Introduction: A Short History of Immigration to the United States
    How important has immigration been in American history? One leading historian of immigration, Harvard's Oscar Handlin, wrote in 1951, "Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants... more

Impact

  • AMERICAN IMMIGRATION:DANIEL J. TICHENOR
    NO PORTION OF THIS TRANSCRIPTION MAY BE COPIED, SOLD OR RETRANSMITTED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN AUTHORITY OF FEDERAL DOCUMENT CLEARING HOUSE, INC. more
  • Immigration Act 1924
    Legislation that limited the number of immigrants into the USA from outside the Western hemisphere to around 150,000 per year. The act took effect in 1929. more
  • Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America/Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration...
    THE MOST ENDURING ISSUE OF American life, prominent long before the idea of independence had occurred to the settlers of the New World, was and is immigration. Since the adoption of the Constitution, U.S. citizens have struggled with the... more
  • Who's Coming to America
    Early in the 20th century, more than 80 percent of the immigrants arriving in the United States were I rom Europe. Barely 1 percent were from Latin America, and even fewer came from Asia and Africa. more

Quote

  • "Many historians believe that the quota systems of the 1920's triggered the first major instances of illegal immigration to the United States." Immigration Politics (2006)
    As concerns over illegal immigration mounted, a divided Congress struggled to fix a broken system. more
  • "Many historians believe that the quota systems of the 1920's triggered the first major instances of illegal immigration to the United States." Immigration Politics (2006)
    As concerns over illegal immigration mounted, a divided Congress struggled to fix a broken system. more