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Closed Borders and Mass Deportations: The Lessons of the Barred Zone Act

January 1, 2005

In 2005 Congress is expected to reexamine the U.S. immigration system in light of the roughly 10 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. Some advocates of restrictionist immigration policies offer mass deportations or a "moratorium" on immigration as solutions to the obviously dysfunctional system under which undocumented migration of this scale is taking place. Yet U.S. immigration history offers examples of similarly ill-conceived proposals. As policymakers and the public debate the nature and extent of immigration reform, they would do well to reflect upon the cautionary lessons of the Barred Zone Act of February 4, 1917.

Remembering December 17: Repeal of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

December 1, 2004

December 17 marks the anniversary of the 1943 repeal by Congress of the Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882. With only a few exceptions, this law barred any Chinese from immigrating to the United States, and was the first time U.S. immigration policy singled out citizens of a particular nation for wholesale discrimination.

The McCarran-Walter Act:A Contradictory Legacy on Race, Quotas, and Ideology

June 1, 2004

The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 ended the blanket exclusion of immigrants based on race and created the foundation for current immigration law, but imposed a racialized immigration quota system and new ideological grounds for exclusion.

"Eating Bitterness": The Impact of Asian-Pacific Migration on U.S. Immigration Policy

May 1, 2004

Asian-Pacific migration to the United States has had a positive impact on immigration and refugee law by contributing to the demise of exclusion acts against non-whites and of the nationality-based quota system.