tv Immigration in America CSPAN July 22, 2016 2:01pm-3:19pm EDT
2050, that the suburban assimilated jew is literally going to die out and the jewish population in the united states is going to become much more orthodox and larger. in teaching classes on modern jewish history i always end by asking what will follow the modern period in jewish history and my answer is the medievel. so now remind me of the first question. i knew that was going to happen. >> we're out of time. >> can i just answer that question? we're done. >> real short. i promise. >> in theory at least if my perspective today, there might have been potential contradiction between the aim of the establishing a jewish state -- >> got it very short, i promise, because the boss says we're done. it was not fully understood as a contradiction, then statehood was more important than rescue. end of story and even after the war, getting refugees to palestine was considered more important than bringing them here. where that became a problem.
was in the '80s. when a soviet jewry movement begins here in the united states. and the american jewish community found itself in direct, direct defiance of the wishes of the israeli government that wanted the russians to go there. and the american jewish community argued freedom of choice. on immigration. of course once the russian jews arrive here in large numbers, they really don't want a lot to do with them and i'll just end with an anecdote. i mentioned to my own synagogue board, maybe we should have an outreach program to russian jews in northeast philadelphia. and one member said -- out loud, why do we need to do that? i already have somebody to do my nails.
>> coming up tonight on american history tv, it's the history of immigration. starting at 8:00 p.m., we'll show you a comparison of the roles of congress, states, and the president in developing immigration policy. going all the way back to the colonial period. then at 9:20 eastern, the origins of the 1882 chinese exclusion act and how popular culture shaped stereotypes. and 10:15, look at one congressman's fight against immigration restrictions from the 1920s to 1965. all of this tonight on immigration on american history tv on c-span3. >> coming up next, albany law school professor emeritus paul finkelman delivering a keynote address at a symposium focusing on the history of immigration in america. he compares the role of congress, states, and the president in developing immigration policy from the
colonial period to modern day. this event is part of a two-day u.s. capitol historical society symposium. it's about 1:15. >> keynote opening -- opening this particular symposium, we have paul finkelman, again, those of you who come on a routine basis know paul well. he's been our fearless leader for the past several years in helping to direct the symposium. because of that, i feel like no introduction is needed. that old canard, but in paul's case, it's really true. i'll just say that he comes to us from the university of saskatchewan to give you a sense of how far he's come to be with us today. he's there on a professor, visiting professorship on human rights. and he'll be speaking on a nation of immigrants, the keynote, of course, is an opportunity to look at the theme in a broader sense. so he's going to be laying the
groundwork for everything we're going to be discussing tomorrow, and i hope you'll all come back if you can tomorrow as well. one last thing before paul comes up to the podium. we have a special lunch program, something we don't do typically. we're going to have a speaker join us during lunch period tomorrow. so we can keep people in the room, but have boxed lunches to make that easy for you. and i think you'll really enjoy it if you're suspicious about what a living history interpreter does, it's a good chance for you to find out what kind of historians deal with the public directly. these are people who speak to classroom groups, tour groups, specific historic sites and so on. i think you'll be really impressed by ron ducetpert interpretation of the immigrant. that's why we invited him. without further ado, paul finkelman.
>> thank you very much. it's delightful to be here. i think it's marvelous that we're doing this on cinco de mayo. and of course, when, as chuck pointed out, when we planned this conference about a year ago, we had no idea that it would be as much in the news and as important a topic as it has become. i would like to say we're prophets and that we could envision the last year of american politics, but then that would not be true. and it would also be impossible. so here we are. we are a nation of immigrants. it's a theme that runs throughout our history, throughout our public school books. i did a quick search of something called world cat, which tells you where all the books are located in libraries around the world. i find dozens of entries with the title "a nation of immigrants" including perhaps
the most interesting one, a book written by senator john f. kennedy in 1958, republished in 1964, posthumously with an introduction by his brother, robert kennedy, and republished again in 2008 with an introduction by his other brother, senator edward kennedy. the phrase appears, of course, in scholarly articles and popular journals, in popular media all the time. most americans take pride in the notion that we're a nation of immigrants. the story of immigrant success, the story of america as a safe haven for immigrants is woven in much of our history. more than one scholar has indeed noted that the history of immigration the history of america itself. this would even be true, of course, if you were focusing on native americans because they would be seeing the history of america from the other side of immigration. but in a sense, immigration runs
throughout our history. when i was growing up, the school books focused on the famous successful immigrants andrew carnegie, alexander graham bell, john ericson, the great engineer, and occasionally, jack warner and his brothers, who helped create the movie industry. every book would have a mention of the great immigrant scientists who helped us win the war, albert einstein, edward teller, and enrico ferme, while skipping over the post-war nazi immigrant ferner von brown. today, immigrant heroes are more likely to be found in high-tech. andy grove, the founder of intel is from hungary. one from india, he invented the pentium chip, without which life itself could not be popular, and the co-founder of google, which
is in fact life itself. alternatively, of course, we learned of the great entertainers, irving berlin, greta garbo, sophia loren, zsa zsa gabor, and now the more recent immigrant entertainers, natalie portman from israel, arnold schwarzenegger from austria, dan aykroyd from canada, and eddie van halen from the netherlands. there's the litany of sports figures, the first generation was actually children of immigrants, lou gehrig, joe dimaggio, hank greenberg, and today, we have the immigrants themselves, yao ming, martina navratilova, wayne gretzky, and arguably, the single greatest immigrant athlete of our time, mariano rivera. who?
the people from boston have spoken. when we consider the role of congress and the executive branch in immigration, it is, of course, important to understand that immigrants and their children, and when we speak about immigrants, it's almost always important to talk about the first generation because they are almost always raised in immigrant communities. and indeed, there's a phenomenally wonderful map that the census produced for the 1910 census, which shows county by county the percentage of immigrants and their children across the united states. bright red meant that they were 50% or more immigrant, and of course, not surprisingly, all of new york city, most of new jersey are bright red. but so is virtually all of idaho, all of montana, the dakotas, wisconsin, minnesota. we forget how incredibly important immigration was with their children across the
settlement of the united states. and today, of course, popular culture, and so when we talk about politics, we talk about both the immigrants and children of immigrants who are in politics. popular culture, of course, today celebrates the west indian kid who came to new york looking for a college education and instead ended up as the secretary of the treasury. meanwhile, while he's unlikely to have a broadway play after him, there's also the son of the west indian immigrants who went to public schools in new york, went to city college, and ended up being chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and secretary of state. colin powell, of course, followed in the recent footsteps of many immigrants and their children who have ended up in presidential cabinets and their equivalent. indeed, in the last half century, there have been at least 20 immigrants and their children who have served at that level of american government. we have had two secretaries of
state, one secretary of the treasury, one secretary of interior, two national security advisers, one of whom was also secretary of state, and one ambassador to the united nations, all of whom were naturalized american citizens. when we think about the role of the immigrant in american history, we have to wonder what would it be if we cut off this stream of immigration that has provided us with so much leadership. there are, of course, many children of immigrants in congress today, in presidential cabinets, and the numbers of grandchildren of immigrants who were raised in families where immigration matters. simply too big to count. this has always been the case. in the 1790s, there was senator pearce butler from ireland, and as we will learn tomorrow, senator albert galatyn from switzerland. in the mid-19th century, david
leavy ueli, and charles sures, all of whom were immigrants. in the 20th century, robert wagner, mel martinez serving in the senate. this is only the skimming the easy names off the top. it would be too difficult to list all the house members, i would simply run out of time. in 1790, 10% of congress was foreign born. in the mid 1880s, 8% of congress was foreign born. today it's down to 2%. central to the notion of the nation of immigrants has been that america has been a refuge of the oppressed. and americans, of course, have been proud of this, and this is in part reflected by the nickname of the two great entrees to the united states, both ellis island and angel island are known as the golden
door at the time that they were active and in subsequent history since. there's a good reason for this. whatever else we may say in criticizing some aspects of american culture and american society, the golden doors provided an enormous amount of economic opportunity, as well as a safe haven for political and religious refugees from around the world. in the lazarus's poem on the base of the statute of liberty encapsulates the ideals and the ideology of the nation of immigrants and a golden door. keep ancient land your storied pomp, she cries, with silent lips. give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. your wretched masses of your shore. send these, the homeless tempest toss to me. i lift my lamp beside the golden door.
for many newcomers, historically, the site of lady liberty was something they never forgot. my own grandparents and great aunts and uncles recalled the thrill of seeing the statue as their ship came into new york harbor after a less than pleasant voyage and steerage from europe. for my own grandfather on my father's side, the statue had greater meaning. he came to america at a time when federal law banned immigrants with various kinds of loathsome or dangerous diseases, as the federal statute put it. my grandfather wasn't sure what loathsome or dangerous diseases was, but he knew that he had bad eyes. and he knew that if you had bad eyes, you didn't get into the united states. he didn't know what trachoma was, and he didn't know he didn't have it. instead of going through ellis island, which is how his siblings and parents went, he
went from southern poland to hamburg to manchester to halifax to montreal, and he took the train from montreal to plattsburg, new york. one can hardly imagine a more dismal way to enter the united states. and he crossed in as a tourist. and he took the train to new york city. and he stayed in new york city until he discovered that his bad eyes were not what they would stop you for at ellis island. so he took the boat out to ellis island. he's one of the few immigrants to go reverse trip to ellis island so he could come in to the united states. he came in to the country in a sense through the back door, and only later re-entered through the golden door. my other grandfather came through the golden door in 1913, when he was about 13 years old. but you had to be 16 to work, so he lied on his immigration
papers, said he was 16, so he could go to work. and then when he was only about 17, uncle sam sent a little letter greetings, world war i is now here, and so my grandfather got drafted before he was eligible, but he couldn't very well say, oh, no, no, i'm too young. and then, on august 8th, 1918, he became a citizen under the amended act of may 1918 while stationed at camp gordon in georgia. so we're a nation of immigrants, but not everyone came in according to the rules. thus am i the face of the illegal alien. my father and mother, both born in new york city, are what some people would call anchor babies. they were anchoring their illegal fathers who today of course would be expelled from the united states for the way they came into the country.
they snuck in through the golden door and lied about it to stay here. now, despite the easy praise for immigrants who made good and the easy case to be made for immigrant contributions to american society, there's always been, of course, the counternarrative. often, immigrants are seen as a threat to society or the cause of social and political problems. immigrants have been condemned for undermining the moral climate of america and have been singled out for criminal misbehavior when, of course, american citizens who did the same thing don't make headlines. religion, ethnicity, and race have been a constant theme of anti-immigration rhetoric in the united states. at various times, the nation and even some states in many cities have encouraged immigration for economic reasons. while at the same time, opponents of immigration have vigorously argued that it would depress wages and threaten the incomes of native born citizens. by the way, this is going on
right now today. there are a number of cities that are seeking out immigrants to revitalize depressed neighborhoods, depressed cities, even as other people complain about the flood of immigrants that keep coming to the united states. thus, historically, and certainly today, there have been loud calls for immigration reform and severe immigration restrictions. immigration is, of course, a central issue in the presidential campaign this year. this is, of course, the elephant or the donkey in the room. i'm not sure which it might be. ironically, four of the major presidential candidate this year are the children of immigrants. this has never happened before. two of the major presidential candidates are married to immigrants. and one was born outside the united states and is arguably
not a natural born citizen and therefore was never eligible to be president in the first place. at no other time in u.s. history have so many children of immigrants been viable candidates for a presidential nomination. should donald trump become president, he will be the first child of an immigrant to become president of the united states, while simultaneously being a serial spouse of immigrants. this, of course, is a new world for us. as this conference will demonstrate, the rules for immigration and citizenship have been constantly changing. what i would like to talk about for the rest of the evening is opposition to immigration and the way it has affected the rules for immigration. obviously, they're interconnected. when opponents of immigration
are ascendant, the rules have changed, making it more difficult for the huddled masses who are yearning to be free to in fact become free. or, if they get here at all, to become citizens. opposition to immigration, as i have noted, has been based on religion, ethnicity, race, and sometimes unabashed bigotry. sometimes these sentiments known in the u.s. history as nativism, have been quite open. sometimes they're couched in terms about economics, competition, or respect for the law. often, immigration has been based on narrow political considerations. most famously, of course, in 1798, the federalist party tried to stop immigration, made it far more difficult for immigrants to become citizens. why? because the federalists understood most of the immigrants were voting for the party of thomas jefferson. similarly, in the 1840s and 1850s, the nativist movement,
culminating in the know nothing party with its presidential campaign of 1856, again, did not want catholic immigration in part because a number of the know nothings, including their 1856 presidential candidate, millard fillmore, had previously lost elections because they lost the catholic vote. now, fillmore could never understand why the catholics didn't vote for him after he campaigned in favor of mandatory protestant bible reading in the new york public schools, but perhaps that was his own limitation. the earliest example i can find of anti-immigration sentiment comes from an outburst in governor william bradford's diary in 1642. bradford was the governor of the plymouth colony. and bradford complained the population was being corrupted by recent immigrants who were, quote, wicked persons and profane people who had so
quickly come over to this land and mixed amongst us. the religious men who began the community had come for religion's sake and now they had these wicked people. bradford was referring to the recent execution for bestiality of a young man named thomas granger, who at age 17, had been caught in the barnyard doing things which were illegal. when asked where he learned this immoral behavior, granger said, quote, he was taught it by another who had heard of such things from some in england when he was there and they kept cattle together. thus, bradford blamed granger's fatal deviant behavior on recent immigrants who had corrupted this young man living in plymouth. bradford also noted that another young man had been recently executed for sodomy, having confessed he long ago used it in old england. bradford concluded this
illustrated how one wicked person may affect many and he urged residents to be careful of what servants they bring into their family. bradford recorded the case in his diary, including various details about granger's behavior, which i will not go into. suffice to say, granger confessed to having sex with various barnyard creatures as well as a wild turkey. he was subsequently hanged, and all of the barnyard creatures were also killed and thrown into a big pit. by the way, the massachusetts magistrates were truly befuddled about what to do about the turkey, and so they went in and shot three wild turkeys and threw them in the pit to symbolically cleanse the society from this immorality. after granger's execution, bradford tried to understand why, quote, wickedness did break forth in a land where so much was so witnessed against and so
narrowly looked unto, and he concluded that granger's behavior plus adultery and nonmarital sex and, quote, even sodomy and buggery, things too fearful to name, having just named them, have broke forth in this land oftener than once. and what bradford focused on was the fact that most of the offenders were either immigrants or people who had been corrupted by immigrants. and he tried to explain this by looking at the labor shortage in plymouth. and he noted that many of the settlers desperate for laborers that when they could not have such as they would, were glad to take such as they could. and so, of course, settlers of plymouth were willing to take irreligious people, people of questionable morals, recent immigrants, because they were desperate for labor. and then he concluded another
and more main reason here was that men finding so many godly persons disposed to come to these parts, some began to make a trade of it. to transport passengers and their goods, and hired ships for that end, and then, to make up their freight and advance their profit, they cared not who the persons were if they had the money to pay them. and so by this means, the country became pestered with many unworthy persons who came over, crept into one place or another. in other words, plymouth in the 1640s was being overrun by the wrong kind of immigrants, brought by greedy capitalists who were willing to fill their ships with anybody who could pay their passage. this, of course, in some ways reflects the problems that opponents of immigrants often
talk about. not only bad people coming, but local citizens beginning to look the other way and hire anybody they could hire without regard for whether they were the right kind of immigrants. bradford's analysis, by the way, somewhat dovetails with that of president theodore roosevelt 250 years later. in his annual message to congress in 1905, roosevelt declared that the nation could never have too much immigration of the right sort, and we should have none whatever of the wrong sort. and the debate from the time of bradford to roosevelt to our own time is how do we figure out what the right sort of immigrant is and how do we figure out what the wrong sort of immigrant is. bradford, of course, was not the only colonial official to do this, and in the interest of time, i will not go into too many details.
but it is worth noting that just a few years after bradford's outburst, the governor of the dutch colony of the new netherlands faced the problem of quakers and lutherans and jews creeping in to new amsterdam and corrupting the society. when 23 jews arrived in 1664, he tried to expel these homeless, stateless people. they had no place to return to, no nation to protect them, and thus, they had no plans to go anywhere. he immediately wrote to his bosses in amsterdam and asked for permission to expel them because they were, quote, very repugnant to the colony's magistrates.
although impoverished and desperately needing charity to survive, he absurdly claimed he feared they would soon be up to their old customary usury and deceitful trading with christians. the only problem was they had no money to lend, no money to buy anything, and nothing to sell, but that didn't worry him. he referred to these 23 immigrants as the deceitful race, such hateful enemies and blasphemers in the name of christ, and he hoped they would not be allowed to infect and trouble this new colony. the religious leader of the community similarly wrote authorities in holland and asked that the godless rascals be expelled. the religious leaders noted, we have here mennonites and lutherans among the dutch, also many puritans and independents and atheists and other servants among the english under this government who conceal themselves under the name of christians, who would create a still further confusion if the obstinate and immovable jews came to settle here.
this fascinating outburst, of course, seems to be more aimed at non-jews than jews, but the general issue is that the authorities in the new netherland colony wanted to make sure they got the right kind of immigrant and not the wrong sort of immigrant that had troubled and would trouble americans. officials of the dutch west indies company sympathized with him. they said we would like to have agreed to your wishes and request that the new territory should not be further invaded by people of the jewish race. but they concluded that this would be unfair to these immigrant jews who in fact had escaped from a dutch colony in brazil where a number of jews had died fighting the portuguese invaders and they had in fact been pretty good colonists in brazil, and furthermore, they noted that dutch merchants living in amsterdam also wanted to trade in the new world, and
they were going to get permission to do so. the dutch authorities referred to a petition of the portuguese merchants as the jews in amsterdam were called, and in that petition, the merchants said the american colony was a land that needs people for its increase. and that becomes the countertheme to anti-immigration sentiment. that is, we don't want any of these people, but we really need people. and as bradford noted, people took what they could get rather than what they would want. between the british acquisition of the new netherland colony and the eve of the american revolution, there was substantial voluntary immigration into the colonies that would make up the united states. most came from great britain, england, wales, scotland, and ireland, of course, the irish were never really quite considered english, so they were among the wrong kind of
immigrant, but since they were coming from the realm of the king, it was hard to keep them out. but there -- of course, there were also significant number of people of dutch ancestry, but the largest non-british immigration came from germany. and immigrants flooded into the colonies, and in 1740, england made it easier for immigrants to become citizens, but they didn't make it easy enough in the eyes of most of the american colonists. and so in the declaration of independence, one of the complaints against king george is he has endeavored to prevent the population of these states for that purpose obstructing the laws of naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither. in other words, the american revolutionaries understood that they needed immigrants and that one of king george's faults was that he was not doing enough to encourage immigration. after the war, america opened
its arms to immigration, and gave citizenship to many who had come to fight in the war, including the marquis de lafayette, who was granted citizenship even though he had no plans to stay in the united states. i suppose it's worth noting in passing, and i try as a historian, i'm trying not to get too involved in the present debate, that one might make the argument if one believed in the intentions of the framers, that the intentions of the framers of both the declaration of independence and the constitution was that we should have open immigration because immigration is what makes america grow and what makes america strong. that would have been the ideology of those people who participated in america's first political tea party in 1773 in boston harbor. after the revolution, the nation initially was receptive to immigration.
the constitution adopted in 1789 allowed for a uniform rule of naturalization, and furthermore banned congress from interfering with immigration of any kind until 1808. although it did allow the states to interfere with immigration. the new constitution gave power, congress of course, the right to control immigration once they got here, and to expel people who didn't fit in as in the 1798 series of laws known as the alien acts. this then set a pattern that would continue on and off for most of the century. at times, the u.s. would encourage immigration. at other times, the u.s. would discourage immigration. the federalists used immigration laws to reduce the number of new citizens who might vote for the opposition. but of course, the federalists
lost power after 1801, and many of those laws either were repealed or expired or fell into disuse. meanwhile, the states aggressively tried to deal with immigration. new york, for example, required that ships bringing immigrants in the 1820s and '30s register the immigrants with authorities in new york. and the mayor of new york versus millen, the supreme court upheld this. noting, and it's worth understanding what the court says, this law was obviously passed with a view to prevent citizens from being oppressed by the support of multitudes of poor persons who come from foreign countries without possessing the means of supporting themselves. in miln, the supreme court developed for the first time what would later be called state police powers, which allowed the states to protect themselves from undesirables and the court's argument, the arguments
of lawyers and of some of the concurring judges in this case compared new york's desire to limit the number of poor immigrants, and by the way, that translates into irish catholic immigrants, to limit irish catholic immigrants precisely the way south carolina was allowed to prevent the immigration of free blacks from other parts of the united states or from the british caribbean. justice philip barber concluded, we think it is as competent and necessary for a state to provide precautionary measures against the moral pestilence of paupers, vagabonds and convicts as it is to guard against the physical pestilence that may arise from unsound and infectious articles imported or from a ship or crew that may be laboring under an infectious disease. thus, irish immigrants, free blacks, and other undesirable
foreigners were no different than an infectious disease. this is the supreme court of the 1830s. a decade later, there's a new wave of anti-immigration, and the first nativists are elected to congress in the 1840s. more famously, they come into congress in larger numbers in the 1850s. and in the passenger cases, the supreme court overrules laws of new york and massachusetts which had attacks on new immigrants because the courts said that only the federal government could tax immigrants. this was the development of what is in part known as the doorman commerce clause. it's important to notice that these major constitutional aspects, major constitutional theories such as state police powers and commerce clause come from two areas of jurisprudence. one is from jurisprudence around slavery. of course, what we saw in miln is it's both free blacks and
poor irish and moral -- immoral people and criminals and diseases, all wrapped into one. and we have to fight against this. in 1844, the american party won the mayor's race in new york and philadelphia, won a few seats in congress, and as i said, hurt millard fillmore by endorsing him when he ran for governor of new york because the catholics all voted for the democratic candidate. in the mid 1850s, the anti-immigrant, anti-catholic american party known as the know nothing party had fleeting success, sending 50 members congress, including the entire massachusetts delegation and taking 397 out of 400 seats in the massachusetts legislature. meanwhile, the know nothings elected governors in
massachusetts, maine, and pennsylvania, and mayors in boston, philadelphia, and san francisco. in 1850, fillmore would run for president and carry the state of maryland. ironically, of course, maryland was first begun as a haven for catholics, and so that's why the anti-catholic party won maryland. it should be noted, by the way, when i say anti-catholic, what that meant, the know nothings, one of their party platforms was no catholic should ever be eligible to hold public office in the united states. another piece of their platform was that any immigrant who came had to reside for 21 conseg secutive years in order to become a citizen. if an immigrant left for any reason whatsoever, the 21-year clock would begin again. this was essentially an attempt to prevent immigrants from ever becoming citizens. despite hostility to immigrants,
despite the fact they spoke the wrong language, went to the wrong church, had a strange and odd appearance, most americans ultimately tolerated and welcomed immigrants. the know nothings, of course, had a brief amount of success, but they were doomed to failure. in 1855, the leader of the new republican party in illinois wrote to a friend, i am not a know nothing. that is certain. how could i be? how could anyone who abhorred the oppression of negroes be in favor of depressing white people. our progress in degenresi appears rapid. we began as creating all men as equal. now we practically read it all men are created equal except for negroes. when the know nothings get control, it will read all men are created equal except negroes and foreigners and catholics. i should prefer immigrated to
some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty. to russia, for instance, without the base alloy of hypocrisy. this, of course, was abraham lincoln, who five years later would be president, and who would understand that his sympathy for immigrants was truly important because in the civil war, about a half a million immigrants would serve in the united states army or navy. at least 200,000 german immigrants, at least 150,000 irish immigrants. there were numerous irish brigades, german brigades, but also there were brigades and regiments of swiss immigrants, italian immigrants, the garibaldi brigade. there was a polish immigrants, a norwegian regiment. and there were numerous important generals from overseas. there were a number of german
generals, moe famously frans siegel and carl sherz, but reflecting the diversity of america's new immigrants, there were a number of jewish generals in the civil war. edward selig salmon. they're unrelated. they just keep using the same names to confuse generations of historians. recognizing the importance of new immigrants, the lincoln administration changed american military law to allow for the appointment of jewish clergymen and the clergy corps for the first time in american history, and in 1864, congress passed a
new statute to encourage immigration and one of the pieces of this new statute was that immigrants who came over would not be subject to the draft. if they didn't want to be. so they were encouraging more immigrants because with hundreds of thousands of men in the field, we needed new people to work in the factories and the fields of america. and these dramatically changed both america's ethnic culture and the nature of the society. the new immigrants, not surprisingly, give rise to a new anti-catholic sentiment, merge with anti-semitism, merge with just general anti-immigrationism. one of the interesting things is although this is one of the large muslim immigrations from the ottoman empire, i have yet to find any people worrying about muslims coming into the united states at that time. but every hatred has its moment, and so that could wait. in the 1890s, a new organization
emerges. throughout this period, there are debates as to the race of these new immigrants, because the american naturalization law after the 1870s allowed only white people and people of african ancestry to be naturalized citizens, and so the question is, were syrians, turks, armenians, jews, italians, people from south asia, were they white or were they not white? and who could come in and who could not? of course, the obvious big issue was the chinese in the last half of the 19thry and japanese immigration in the first 20 years of the 20th century. but all of these issues begin to merge in a variety of ways. and of course, millions of immigrants come to the united states in this period.
22 million is the general figure between 1880 and 1914. one of the things to think about, by the way, is when we think about the poor huddled masses, is that after about 1902, they're required to have $50 in currency, didn't have to be u.s. money, but the equivalent of $50 to come into the united states. so there is an enormous transfer of wealth from europe and parts of asia to the united states as immigrants are bringing their money. and i wish i could, you know, be a time traveler and go back to a bank in new york because you could imagine there would be just this plethora of foreign currency coming into the bank from every part of europe and some parts of asia, as immigrants forked over their
$50. plus, a $2 processing fee for going through ellis island. and then, of course, we got world war i. and after world war i, we got the 1921 and 1924 immigration acts. which essentially closed the golden door to most immigrants. and of course, the tragedy of the '24 act is that the door will remain closed for hundreds of thousands of europeans, mostly jews, but also many others, who would have escaped naziism and fascism had the door been open. similarly, of course, and i will talk about this briefly in a minute, the door had already been closed to chinese
immigrants, so that, again, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of chinese who were about to face slaughter by the imperial japanese army, could also not come to the united states in the 1930s because the door was closed to them as well. until the 1950s, 1850s, of course, almost all voluntary immigration in the united states was of european origin or -- and after the 1850s, of course, we begin to get large numbers of chinese coming. there are almost no chinese before this time. in 1850, the census found 758 people of chinese birth living in the united states. since the revolution, there have been a smattering of chinese come as merchants, occasionally as students. sometimes as merchant seamen. a large trade that china clippers, the china trade, and ships were always adding a few seamen here and there, so occasionally, you would get some chinese immigrants coming in. but the chinese begin to pour in in the 1850s. and initially, they're welcomed.
initially, there are people saying how important the chinese are, how helpful they are, and how we need their labor. but that quickly changes, and we will hear much more about this tomorrow, so i don't want to go into any detail except simply to say that by the 1870s, the west coast of the united states has -- is essentially making war on chinese immigrants, doing everything possible to prevent chinese immigrants from coming and from being successful when they arrive. and ultimately, this leads in 1882 to the chinese exclusion act, which doesn't in fact exclude all chinese, but excludes an awful lot of chinese. there will still be significant chinese immigration up until world war ii, but not in anything like the numbers before. meanwhile, starting in the mid 1890s, we begin to get japanese immigration to the united states.
japanese had not been part of the chinese exclusion act for a number of reasons, one of which is at the time it was illegal for japanese to leave their country. so you didn't have to worry about excluding them. the emperor did that for you. however, when the japanese come, they're immediately met with hostility. they are essentially seen as like the chinese, only perhaps worse. and the failure to include japanese in the final exclusion act of 1902, which was only directed at the chinese, infuriated people in california. there is, however, an important difference. this is where i will begin to bring all this to a close. by 1900, japan was a formidable country. it had a growing economy. it was a force to be reckoned with. and it played a major role in suppressing the boxer rebellion in china. and by 1906, japan had defeated
russia, the largest country in europe, in a war. and america had to take notice that these people of the wrong race and the wrong religion had suddenly defeated a white european power that was much bigger than japan. teddy roosevelt, of course, negotiated the peace for the rusho japanese war, and for that, he would win the nobel peace prize. roosevelt came away from his negotiations with japan impressed by the japanese. he later said the japanese never told me anything but the truth in the negotiations unlike the russians who lied every time i met with them. he came away despising the russians and admiring the japanese. at the same time that he is fearful and wary of the fact that japan is a rising economic power and a rising military power.
and roosevelt does everything he can to be conciliatory to the japanese, from the time he takes office until almost the very end of his administration, when san francisco tries to segregate japanese school children, roosevelt steps in and does everything possible to stop san francisco from doing it. but of course, he was limited by both federalism, education as a state and local policy, and also by the supreme court, which had said that segregation is okay. and so if blacks can be segregated in the south, why can't asians be segregated in california? the difference, of course, was this. that the southern blacks were only protected by the 13th, 14th, 15th amendment, and the whims of congress and the whims of the executive branch. none of whom were very sympathetic to the plight of
african-americans. on the other hand, the japanese were protected by a treaty between the united states government and the japanese government, and therefore, roosevelt had a little more flexibility. ultimately, san francisco would back away from its segregation of japanese, but not before san francisco had done enormous damage to u.s.-japanese relations. in 1900, the united states agrees to something called the gentleman's agreement in which japan promises to limit exit visas to the united states. this works for a couple years, but then japanese immigration rises again. in 1908, there's another gentleman's agreement, japanese immigration goes down a little. but comes mostly back very quickly. and finally, in 1924, the united states eliminates all japanese immigration in the immigration act of 1924.
in 1905, '06, '07, '08, the united states was enormously popular in japan. japanese admired the united states. they saw the united states as their friend, and americans were considered friends of the japanese after the san francisco earthquake. japanese earthquake specialists who knew a lot more about them than californians came to help san francisco dig out. by 1921, and especially after 1924, the united states was seen as an enemy of japan, in part because of the immigration acts. but also because of the vigorous anti-japanese laws passed in california between 1905 and 1924 restricting land ownership to aliens eligible to citizenship. japanese are not because they are not white.
so that becomes the story of american immigration in 45 minutes. it is hard to cover this ground in any great detail. one of the things that's clear is of the decline of immigration in 1924 changed the united states fundamentally because people growing up in the 1920s either 30s and 1940s, grew up in a nation of i am grantsz. people went to school with immigrants. there were, as we noted, the immigrant heroes. joe dimaggio. lou gehrigs who americans cheered for. by the 1950s there were no more or very few immigrant children
in schools. i went to high school in a town that had a large italian-american community. a number of irish-americans. a very, very small smattering of jewish-americans. there was one immigrant hid in my class. everyone else had grandparents who were immigrants or parents. the generation of the post-war baby boom up through the millennials is a generation that grew up without knowing immigrants or without understanding them. and that, i think, has led to greater hostility to immigrants than at anytime since the 1920s. because people who do not know other people fear other people and are bothered by other people.
that's one of the lessons by closing the golden door. by closing the golden door, we increase the potential for the hostility for the foreigner because the foreigner was truly foreign. for my parents generation, the foreigner wasn't foreign at all. they were the classmaties or parents of classmates. that's the world that has been bequethed to us. we will look at many aspects of this history. thank you very much. plauz plauz. >> we have lots of time for questions. and just wait until the microphone reaches you and perhaps stand up. are there questions?
yes, over there. >> thank you, paul. do we know much rates of remigration? or is it that we'll come to america and say that's the question one. question two is are immigrants -- how do you characterize? individual choice or communities relocating? what is the consequence with the two populations? >> the first question is easy for the vast immigration from 1880 to 1924, we have fairly good statistics of remigration. and as you might expect remigration varies by country. significant numbers of italian immigrants and polish immigrants
return home and make money and return and go back home. in the 1924 act, one of the congress members said they come and make money and they all go back to italy. congress member laguardia got up and said yeah, but they leave the roads and sewers and bridges and subways that they built. that was part of that debate. on the other hand, as you might expect, jewish immigrants who had no home to go back to had a repatriation rate of 8%. they had no home to go back to. the other modern is post-world war ii, a significant number of immigrants retire to their home country. at one point and it still may be true. i wasn't anticipating the question so i don't know if it is still going on. at one point, there social
security offices in warsaw and dublin and tel aviv, not their home country, but a country that they went back to and athens and rome and other cities in italy because so many spend their lives here and go back home to receive their social security. it is a reversal of the balance of payments. in terms of how do immigrants come -- i think some, obviously come as individuals. they get on a boat and come over. others come as communities, but more likely, i think, they come as families. there's a fairly standard pattern. men come first. immigrants are disproportionately male. for those communities where you get the rest of the family coming over, the men come over, earn a little money and send
money back. their sisters and daughters and wives and grandmothers come over. so you get families coming over. there are communities. there are organizations of people who came from particular cities that exist. i have an uncle who is buried in a cemetery area and everybody in the cemetery is a descendant of somebody who came from eastern europe. i am guessing that is true in other communities as well. there are catholic churches and polish. there are catholic that are northern italian and southern italian churches. i think that's the answer. there's a hand over here.
>> that is an intriguing point. there are no too many immigrants anymore after the 1920s and 1930s and 1940s. you connect that to if you don't know immigrants, you will be more hostile. i'm looking in the last half century since the 1965 act that reopens immigration and am i correct in the last 20 to 25 years there's been probably the highest immigration, at least in raw numbers than at anytime in the last 100 plus years? >> yes. >> how does that connect to the recent anti-immigrant stuff that has been going for a decade or two? >> i have seen studies. the studies suggest that people who are most hostile to immigration today and this, of course, gets to the elephants and donkeys in the room. people most hostile to immigration today are people who
grew up in the '50s and '60s and '70s. that is where the core to hostility to immigration has come. the pew foundation has done a lot of studies on this. this is stuff i read from other places. by the way, this is similar to issues of race. children who went to integrated schools are less likely to be hostile to racial integration than people who didn't go to integrated schools. i think to know people is to be more respectful of them and be less uncomfortable with them. there was a hand up. yes. wait until the mike gets there. >> you mentioned today both your grandfathers would be deported. what percentage do you think they might be deported?
10%? 20%? >> of what? both my grandparents would have been deportable. they came in -- my father's father came in under fraud lent circumstances. he had no intention of leaving. he said he was a tourist. if there was a tourist visa, he would have overstayed it. my other grandfather lied to immigration authorities. that will get you kicked out today. and by the way, i wrote about this on huffington post in a piece that jack chen will be speaking tomorrow and i co- authored. jack is the face of the illegal alien through his father. there he is. through his grandfather. he's in the same boat i am. i got a ton of e-mails from people who said me too.
my relatives too. one person said his grandfather came over alone. he was too young to emigrate. you had to be a certain age to come over by yourselve seyourse. he walked off the boat and took the family last name. he was here. so there were lots of people like this who came over and, of course, immigration inspectors were mostly concerned about people with loathesome diseases or anarchists after the assassination with mckinley or people with certain criminal records. the law has an exclusion of people convicted of political crimes. in the case of the 1940s, there
is a case where they are trying to deport an irish immigrant wanted for murder in england. the deportation fails because the law is not in place yet. he convinces them it is a political crime. he is allowed to stay. >> i misunderstood you. >> you didn't misunderstand me. if you are one of those, that's it. the other thing about being deportable. if you are deportable, you are always vulnerable. if you are here with some kind of problem in your status, you
are always subject to different rules. even naturalized citizens and there are people here who can talk about this better than i can. even naturalized citizens don't have the same protections as natural born citizens with deportation. it has been in the past if it is not currently true. i'm defer to people who know immigration law better than i. >> the fraudulent naturalization. the courts have decimated that particular section of law. but you are correct. >> courts decimate things and they undecimate them. other questions? yes, a hand over here. >> thank you very much. it is very interesting topic. i hope i haven't missed something earlier.
what i was curious about how many of the 300 million people in the united states are immigrants at this point? do we have an idea of the percentage and how much? >> does someone know? i don't have that number in front of me. yeah. >> it would be from decades ago maybe. >> they would be from many decades ago. again, you know, mr. trump's wife for example is now a naturalized citizen, i believe, but she's an immigrant. we have lots of immigrants in the country now. most of them have come in the last 30 years. >> i read recently it is the highest proportion today. it is like 10% to 14% which is 40 million since 1910 or 1920. >> it would have been higher than that in 1920. much higher. again, from 1924 to 1965, the
number of immigrants is truly a trickle compared to what it had been and what it has been since. other questions? yes, there are two hands over here. last minute. yes, yes. do i hear once? twice? go ahead. >> actually, i don't know if this is just a question or observation, i work for the u.s. capital historical society. i was looking around the room at the different faces in this room and thinking about myself, i'm adopted and only found out like five years ago that my grandparents -- my grandparents are from russia outside of the pale and my grandfather came to philadelphia first and then the rest of the family, including
the sibs came over and one was my mother. the house is still standing in south philadelphia with the house where they lived on the top and butcher shop on the bottom. the only reason he was in the outside of the pale was because he had a trade. he was a butcher. and so he was, you know, he wasn't put in the ghetto. i was thinking about this while you were talking. it's more an observation of immigration and how it affects people down the line, you know. like, sometimes i grew up -- people asked me where i was from all my life. i'm not an immigrant per se, not first generation, but i have the -- >> actually if your mother came over you are first generation. >> i am?
>> you are -- if your mother was an immigrant you are the child of an immigrant, your first generation american. yeah. >> how do you like that? >> makes you no different than say marco rubio. ted cruz actually is an immigrant from canada but that's a different question. >> i feel the need to clear up the naturalization issue. >> please feel free, i knew you would. >> she practices immigration law so i defer to her on everything. >> a person who is a naturalized citizen has the same rights as everyone born a u.s. citizen. the only issue is that the government can bring a federal suit to take the naturalization away if it was obtained unlawfully but the government carries the burden of proof.
you're right, it very rarely happens. in fact, i think most of the time with the nazis who have been deported and had their citizenship taken -- anyway. that's my story. >> that's fine. but that of course is it a -- that is of course a difference. that is we could have two individuals, one of whom is an american who went somewhere and became a war criminal and the other is a war criminal who and they both come back to the united states and the foreign born war criminal becomes a citizen. and can lose citizenship, the american war criminal cannot. >> they can't. although, just to really go off the reservation, it's been kind of interesting to watch
after 9/11 how some u.s. citizens have voluntarily as part of the deal given up u.s. citizenship. >> yeah. >> they weren't forced to because they were born but did give it up as part of deal. >> okay. >> the brave new world of citizenship. one question in the back. >> talking about statistics, have you seen the new -- in the smithsonian museum of american history in the basement, they have an innovation wing about talking about immigration and places of invention and a lot of -- it's decade by decade. and it's -- i just wanted to say in the basement of american history, it's worth seeing. innovation wing, american history. >> again, smithsonian is always worth seeing. there's fabulous stuff there. and it's -- you know, again, what's important is is that almost anywhere you go in this country, there are museums that deal with immigration.
we are as i started a nation of immigrants and -- how we come to terms with that, that is -- it's fascinating. and of course, some people don't recognize the immigrant status because it was seven or eight or ten generations ago. but it's still always interesting to -- i mean, i suppose for me the weirdest encounters are the people who are the children of immigrants and want to shut the door behind them as they come in. and i always find that to be the weirdest or the people who are the grandchildren of immigrants and don't want -- now, that may be, by the way, that may be another phenomenon which i have not talked about here and that is that of course, many people who become americans or who are the children of americans want
to as much as people meld into the system and disappear. they want -- again, a -- when i thought about speaking here, i thought that i might just do a litany of name changes in american history. and the way people -- because part of the golden door is that you reconfigure yourself as something else. >> even beyond that, the names you take and there are all kinds of first name naming patterns fascinating among ethnic groups trying to be americanized. and then of course there are the people who change names because they want jobs and in order to get the job, you have to pretend you're not who you are. i believe -- and i could be wrong about this and there may be other exceptions, but for
example, when barbra streisand became a famous singer, everyone told her she needed to change her name because that last name wouldn't make it in america. you know. >> one last question. >> there's one behind you, let me take two. this one and the guy behind you. go ahead and then the guy behind you. >> i just saw a comment on generations at the immigration historian marcus hanson's law that the third generation wants to remember what the second generation wants to forget. >> yes. >> it's consistent. my question is about the concept of naturalization. my sense is naturalization meant something different in the 18th century than what it means today. there was more an economic, had to do with tiered economic rights as opposed to citizenship and political rights or am i wrong? >> it has to do with everything. there are certain economic
rights that come with naturalization but it might surprise some americans to know at various times noncitizens have been allowed to vote in both natural elections and local elections but in other times only citizens could vote. if you wanted to be in the political process, you became naturalized, certain economic rights came with naturalization but the other piece of it is and i think this is very important is naturalization is also a symbolic and personal accomplishment. i mean, my grandparents had their naturalization papers framed on the wall. and i suspect that was very common for hundreds of thousands and indeed millions of immigrants who became citizens and were fiercely proud of becoming citizens because it gave them a place of belonging and gave them a place to be
where they were. >> that's my point. you have to have a concept of citizenship as well. is there always the concept of citizenship in the colonies? they are not really citizens per se. >> yeah, they are, i mean, and that's why in 1740, there's an imperial law -- for instance, in the 1740 law allows protestants and others to become citizens and you read this, what are the others? the others turn out to be quakers and jews. now we know who can't become citizens which were catholics. yes, so in the 1740s, you could migrate to the american colonies and become a citizen of the british empire and that meant a great deal. that meant you were part of something and protected and if you were a merchant seamen you were protected by the british navy.
if you were -- went abroad, you could get a passport. there are huge advantages to being a citizen as well as you could participate in the political and cultural process. >> so jews in colonies often were not allowed to hold public office. >> that's true. >> they could naturalize and that would give them economic rights but not complete political -- >> lots of people didn't have complete political rights. and that's true. but they could also serve on juries. and jury service for the average american in the 18th and 19th century, jury service is a lot more important than whether you'll be elected alderman. and with that is militia service, jury service and voting means you are part of the community. >> well, youon