march memories / 03


3rd March, 1903 : A bill seeking to ban undesirables from entering the United States was passed today by Congress. This latest move to curb immigration will place a two-dollar head tax on all aliens arriving at US ports. The new law will exclude from admission altogether idiots, felons, anarchists, polygamist, the insane and women of “bad repute”. This is not the first time Congress has sought to limit immigration. Yet it marks a historic shift in US immigration policy. The US used to welcome all comers. By 1900 35 million aliens had immigrated. Until some twenty years ago, the majority came from the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Germany. They were therefore predominantly Protestants and of similar ethnic origin to the existing population.

[In retrospect, one could say that it either didn’t work or Americans managed to successfully breed their own idiots, felons, anarchists, polygamist, the insane and women of “bad repute”.]

About Avadoro Worden

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