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Woodrow Wilson and Immigration Laws

             Evolution of immigration restrictions in the 20th century and President Wilson's role.
             Some Americans need hyphens in their names because only part of them has come.
             over; but when the whole man has come over, heart and thought and all, the hyphen.
             drops of its own weight out of his name. This man was not an Irish-American; he.
             was an Irishman who became an American.
             Woodrow Wilson (1914).
             When Woodrow Wilson arrived to the White House on March 4, 1913, the anti-immigrant sentiment was already established in society and politics in the United States. After the last two decades of the 19th century and the early 20th century, the rate of immigration to the United States from southern and Eastern Europe had grown in wealth, bringing their customs, religions and cultures. While immigration grew in number, the political reactions and decisions were doing it. The purpose of this essay is to show the evolution of restrictive policies on immigration during the first decades of the 20th century and the social and cultural context in which they developed. Furthermore I will also highlight a very important figure in this evolution, the twenty-eighth President of the United States Woodrow Wilson and how he faced this new situation, and how the anti-immigrant sentiment grew at the base of the Congress of the United States during his tenure.
             To understand the policy restriction on immigration in the early 20th century, we have to look back to see where these policies began. The first federal law on immigration restriction was enacted in 1875 and 1882. This law, prohibited entry to convicts and prostitutes, and imposed a tax of 50 cents per person. Another restrictive law on immigration took place in 1882, known as the ''Chinese Act''. For the first time, Federal law proscribed entry of an ethnic working group on the premise that it endangered the good order of certain localities. The Act excluded Chinese "skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining" from entering the country for ten years under penalty of imprisonment and deportation.

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