• Amanda Roraback


Alien and Sedition Acts

  • Passed by John Adams

1820-1860 Irish immigration

  • Irish potato famine

  • Many were Catholic

German immigrants

  • Most to midwest to buy farms in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati

1849 Know-Nothing Party formed

  • Backlash from Irish and German immigrants

1849 Gold Rush

  • Attracted immigrants, including Chinese

1880-1992 New Immigrants

  • Mostly from southern, eastern and central Europe

  • 4 million Italians, 2 million Jews

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

  • Barred Chinese immigrants (.002% of population) from entering US

  • First act in American history to restrict an immigrant group

1892 Ellis Island opens

  • First immigration station

  • New York Harbor

  • 1892-1954 more than 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island

1907 Gentlemen's Agreement

  • San Francisco segregated schools

  • Restricting Japanese from attending schools with white students

  • Theodore Roosevelt urged SF to end segregation

  • In exchange, Japan agreed to limit Japanese emigration to US

1910 Angel Island Immigration Station

  • Opened in San Francisco

  • Operated until 1940

1917 Immigration Act

  • Created literacy requirements for immigrants

  • Halts most immigration from Asian countries

1921 Emergency Quota Act

  • Limited immigrants to 3% of each nationality based on 1910 census

1924 National Origins Act/Asian Exclusion Act

  • Limited immigrants to 2% of each nationality based on 1890 census

  • Favored immigrants from northern and western European countries

  • GB, Ireland and Germany accounted for 70% of available visas

  • Prevented immigration from Asia (except US colony Philippines)

1942 Bracero Program

  • Allowed Mexican agricultural workers to enter US temporarily during WWI

  • Lasted until 1964

1952 McCarran-Walter Act

  • Ended exclusion of Asian immigrants to the US


  • Operation Peter Pan, 14,000 Cuban children allowed to come to the US

1965 Immigration and Nationality Act

  • Replaced National Origins formula with system based on preference for immigrants based on skill and family relationships

  • Passed by Lyndon B. Johnson

1980 Mariel boatlift

  • 125,000 Cuban refugees arrived in Florida seeking political asylum

1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA or Simpson-Mazzoli Act)

  • Signed into law by President Reagan

  • Made it illegal to knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

  • Also legalized undocumented immigrants who arrived before 1982

1994 Proposition 187

  • AKA Save Our State (SOS)

  • 1994 ballot initiative to prohibit undocumented immigrants from using health care and public education in California

  • Referendum was passed Nov. 8, 1994

  • But rejected Nov. 11 as unconstitutional

  • Cited as the major reason for the decline of the Republican Party in California

2000 DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors)

  • Proposed by Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch

  • Provided pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the US illegally by their parents ("Dreamers")

  • Didn't pass

2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

  • Temporary shielded "Dreamers" from deportation (not path to citizenship)

  • Signed by President Obama

2017 Trump

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