Week Six Reading: Race in American Immigration.

The article The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law tells the process of the Immigration Act of 1924, and the issues that followed the act, after it was passed. The article is divided into sections each dealing with the act. One section deals with how the act limited the number of immigration into the United States and how some families were pushing Congress to allow family member into the country, because they came before the act was passed. America was founded by white men, and over time, the white men wanted America to be composed of natives, especially people who born in the United States. This article emphasizes the fact, that natives did not want immigrants in becoming American or obtain citizenship. The one section entitled “Eligibility to Citizenship and the Rule of Radical Unassailability,” stood out to me. It mentions and describes the the world was banning immigration in entering the United States. Yet, only the Japanese and the Filipinos were the only two group to be exempt from the ban and allowed into the United States. These types of group were only allowed into the United Sates, because each was connectued to America in some way, whether that was being apart of the Gentleman’s Agreement or living in territoties that belong to the United States. Either way, these two groups of immigrants were the only two allowed to enter. However, what also got was that you either had to be white or black in order to acquire citizenship.

Over the years this bought up many court cases, involving the process of becoming an American citizen. The biggest issues that got me, was dealing with Mexican immigrants, and how they were similarly treated as the Asian. Over time, many Mexican tried in becoming American citizens, but many were deinied, thus, many of their casesing being bought to the Supreme Court, with involvoed the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, that would help with their case. The most famous case, was Rodriguez vs the United States. This cases concerd the issue that Rodriguez was trying to apply for American citiznship, but was denied, because he did not fit the profile of being white, even though he had resided in the United States for ten years. To make matters worse in 1930, the United States would classified Mexican people as a different separate race, and not as white. Overall, this article gave a insight into the stuggles immigrants dealth with in trying to become Americans, and have citizenship.

3 thoughts on “Week Six Reading: Race in American Immigration.

  1. I also was most intrigued by the section on considering Mexican’s immigration rights. I was very surprised at first when even though the judge didn’t define a Mexican man as white, he vouched him to be a “good man,” even though he didn’t know the constitutional amendments and material. What was interesting about the Mexican attention here was not that they were eventually reduced to a separate race, but that they were given such an open chance unlike other races to assimilate and be welcomed into the culture more openly than even the Chinese with the same grant of nativism. Why the Mexicans? I think there was more empathy and trust to give these Mexicans a chance as our foundation with them over the ceased land in the Mexican American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo bonded our states in peace. Our conceptualization of race with Mexicans was less harsh because of our precedent political bond. But their reduction to naturalization and a separate race was not as simple as Chineses’ was, they unearned their welcome through multiple occurrences: high influx of Mexicans taking over the alcohol industry, emerging as a “race problem”; then when we restricted illegal immigration of Mexicans, their illegal immigration rates skyrocketing, so we stereotypes their entire culture to be deviant illegal immigrants; it was the illegal immigration influx that gave restrictionists the last straw to break towards divided them as their own race. This is fascinating being race was chanced on a founded political relationship, then historically constructed itself as negative .

  2. I agree with you in that the United States only allowed Japanese and Filipino immigrants to enter because the governments (Japan- Gentlemen’s Agreement, Philippines- Territory) had relationships with the US; however, they later excluded them all together. I also found it interesting how the United States had an existing treaty with Mexico (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) but they were hesitant to exclude Mexican immigrants because they depended on the labor force. Even though Mexican immigrants were not considered as equal to Americans they were considered more valuable to the United States because they provided labor, while Asian communities were seen as completely inferior and unassimilable.

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