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Thursday, June 7, 2007
Dougherty Backs Racist, Eugenicist Immigration Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a June 7 WorldNetDaily column, Jon Dougherty (WND's original one-source wonder) writes:

The 1965 Immigration Reform Act, the creation of radical, far-left "Down With The Establishment" ideologues hellbent on reversing what had been an effective and manageable system of legalized immigration into the United States since 1924, were steering the civil rights juggernaut smack dab into the heart of traditional America. In its wake, the ideologues, partnered with like-minded members of Congress, destroyed a rational quota system that, according to's Ben Johnson, "had regulated the ethnic composition of immigration in fair proportion to each group's existing presence in the population," and was serving the nation well.

So, what is this wonderful 1924 immigration law that was so "effective and manageable" that Dougherty would apparently like to go back to it? According to Wikipedia:

The Immigration Act of 1924, which included the National Origins Act, Asian Exclusion Act or the Johnson-Reed Act, was a United States federal law that limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890, according to the Census of 1890. It excluded immigration to the US of Asians. It superseded the 1921 Emergency Quota Act. The law was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s, as well as East Asians and Asian Indians, who were prohibited from immigrating entirely. It set no limits on immigration from Latin America.


Some of the law's strongest supporters were influenced by Madison Grant and his 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race. Grant was a eugenicist and an advocate of the racial hygiene theory. His data purported to show the superiority of the founding Northern European races. But most proponents of the law were rather concerned with upholding an ethnic status quo and avoiding competition with foreign workers.

The act halted "undesirable" immigration with quotas. The act barred specific origins from the Asia-Pacific Triangle which included Japan, China, the Philippines, Laos, Siam (Thailand), Cambodia, Singapore (then a British colony), Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Malaysia. It barred these immigrants because they were deemed to be of an "undesirable" race. As an example of its effect, in the ten years following 1900 about 200,000 Italians immigrated every year. With the imposition of the 1924 quota, only 4,000 per year were allowed. At the same time, the annual quota for Germany was over 57,000. 86% of the 165,000 permitted entries were from the British Isles, France, Germany, and other Northern European countries.

The quotas remained in place with minor alterations until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

So, Dougherty would see immigration laws that are favored by racists and eugenicists? It would seem so.

Oh, and Ben Johnson, whose 2002 FrontPageMag article Dougherty approvingly cites, similarly fails to mention the racist and eugenicist aspects of the 1924 law.

UPDATE: WND has been critical of the 1924 immigration law when that suited its purposes. From an April 5 WND column by Logan Paul Gage of the anti-Darwin, anti-evolution Discovery Institute:

In the run-up to the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, Congress relied on eugenics arguments and even heard testimony from an "expert eugenics agent." The intent was to restrict the access of Italians, Jews and other "defectives" to American shores. In the Executive Branch, Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson promoted eugenics through the American Breeders Association.

So, WND, which is it? Was the 1924 immigration law bad because it was based on eugenics, or was it good because it kept brown, yellow and/or swarthy people out?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2007 6:03 PM EDT

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