Trump’s New Plan Would Require Immigrants to Pass a Test. Here’s What Happened When the U.S. Tried That BeforeBreaking News
tags: immigration, Trump, Henry Cabot Lodge, literacy test
When President Donald Trump introduced a new immigration plan last Thursday, he told Americans that he wanted to shift the focus of the U.S. immigration system, going from giving many visas to families of those already here to a “merit” system. Under his plan, which he said would “promote integration, assimilation, and national unity,” the U.S. would require a civics test and make admission decisions on the basis of points for categories such as age, English proficiency, level of education and offers of employment.
While the plan — which is unlikely to pass Congress — would represent a big change for the current system, it would not be the first time the U.S. has used testing to make immigration decisions.
In his new book, The Guarded Gate, journalist Daniel Okrent explores the U.S. immigration system around the turn of the 20th century and shows how politicians came to embrace the racist junk science of the eugenics movement in order to keep their country the way they wanted. His study of the role of literacy and other tests in the service of immigration law exposes what he sees as a reason to be wary of such regulations today.
As the number of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe increased throughout the late 1800s, Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and others began to worry about their impact on American life.
“He thought the white race that founded the country, in his view, was under threat,” Okrent tells TIME.
comments powered by Disqus
- 1619 Project: New York Times Magazine Publishes Special Edition Dedicated to American Slavery and Its Legacies
- National Security Archive Releases New Briefing Book on Chernobyl through the Eyes of the Soviet Politburo, KGB, and U.S. Intelligence
- Before Trump eyed Greenland: Here’s what happened last time the US bought a large chunk of the Arctic
- Illinois Governor Signs Bill Mandating Public Schools Teach LGBTQ History
- Controversial Monument to Women’s Suffrage Redesigned to Include Sojourner Truth
- Historian Elizabeth Hinton Profiled in Harvard Magazine: Color and Incarceration
- 'Clearly, he did not take part in our curriculum': Historians bash Ken Cuccinelli's revised Statue of Liberty Poem
- The Increasing Popularity of Hotel Historians
- If You Call It History, You’ve Got to Do History’: Historians Chafe at a Video That Omitted Their University’s Whites-Only Origins
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum gets grants to help publish Abraham Lincoln papers