George W. Bush Warns Of Nativism, 1920s Style Immigration Backlash

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In 1924, the U.S. Congress passed a law that created a quota for the number of immigrants that could be admitted to the U.S. from any given country. The math worked out like this: Between 1924 and 1927, the annual number of immigrants from any nation could not exceed 2 percent of the number of foreign-born residents from that country in the U.S. in 1890. It was a law designed to freeze in time the ever-shifting ethnic melting pot that the United States has always been. In a recent C-Span talk to college students, former President George W. Bush worries that something like this is happening again.

There was an immigration policy during this period that I think argued during this period that we had too many Jews and too many Italians and therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point to you is we have been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism, nativism. I am a little concerned that we might be going through the same period. I hope that these isms pass, which would then allow for a more orderly look at immigration policy.

Here is the video: