VDARE.COM - http://www.vdare.com/macdonald/040619_1924_immigration.htm
June 19, 2004
Was the 1924 Immigration Cut-off “Racist”?
When Dr. Stephen Steinlight firstadvocateda change in the traditional Jewish support for open borders, his reflexive loathing of the 1920s legislative cut-off that ended the FirstGreat Wave of immigration (seetimeline) overwhelmed the logic of his argument.He described the cut-off as
“evil, xenophobic, anti-Semitic,”
“vast moral failure,”
And he dismissed the vast majority of pre-1965 Americans as a
because they supported a near-completemoratorium on immigration.Three years of arguing with Jewish groups about immigration reform have apparently notchanged Steinlight’s mind on this point. In his most recent monograph,his only reference
to the 1924 Act is that
“tens of thousands”
of Jews might have been saved from theHolocaust
“had the United States not closed its doors…”
The 1924 immigration cut-off enjoys analmost uniquely bad press.
* As an alert VDARE.COM reader recentlyspotted, even Governor Richard Lamm,
immigration reformer hero of theSierra Club insurgency, conceded in an NPR debatethat the 1924 legislation was motivated by bigotry.* In a panel discussion on immigration on MSNBC’sScarborough Countrylast winter,RandallHamud,an Arab-American activist, responded to Pat Buchanan, who had praisedthe effective 1924-1965 immigration moratorium:
“He forgets that the earlierrestrictions on immigration were racist-driven.”
But were the 1920s restrictions
? What, exactly does that mean? Andcould it be that the opponents of those restrictions had their own ethnic motivations?Motivations still to be found today?Stephen Steinlight is a usefulstarting pointbecause he is quite frank in his belief that theonly legitimate consideration for immigration policy is his interpretation of Jewishcollective interests.