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Immigration vs. Emigration: The Internationality of U.S. Immigration Policy

Ashley Zampogna-Krug (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

In the 1920s, the United States enacted restrictive immigration legislation that targeted southern and eastern Europeans. Traditionally, scholars have concentrated on the domestic forces that shaped these restrictive policies such as nativist sentiment and worker competition. This article adopts a different approach by considering the international impact of U.S. immigration policy in the 1920s. The U.S. government's passage of immigration quotas in 1921 and again in 1924 created global migratory imbalances between immigrant receiving and emigrant exporting nations that resulted in two international conferences on emigration and immigration. This article focuses on the Second International Emigration and Immigration Conference held in Havana, Cuba in 1928. An analysis of this conference displays the role of foreign relations and transnational influences in the formation of immigration and emigration policies. It also adds to existing scholarship by expanding discussions of bi-national immigration policies beyond the U.S.-Mexico border, thereby placing 20th century U.S. immigration in a broader Western Hemispheric context.

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ISSN 1753-5794