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The Liberty of StrangersMaking the American Nation$
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Desmond King

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306439.001.0001

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Choosing New Members

Choosing New Members

The Rise of Immigration Restriction

(p.49) 4 Choosing New Members
The Liberty of Strangers

Desmond King

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on assimilability, which was the talked-about word of the new immigration policy established in the 1920s. It demonstrates that throughout the 19th century and into the opening decades of the 20th the experience of segregation and discrimination made some African Americans conceive of a life beyond the United States. Immigration of Chinese laborers had been restricted since the 1870s. The Chinese exclusion policy exhibits how group-based discrimination could be implemented and shows how this shaped the values carried by the United States in its overseas adventures. Congress broadened the restrictions on Chinese laborers to those in Hawaii and the Philippines. A system of national origin categorization is also discussed. The definition of membership enshrined in immigration law would haunt American nationalism abroad as well as at home for a long time.

Keywords:   immigration restriction, assimilability, immigration policy, American nationalism, United States, immigration law, Chinese exclusion law

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