- from Ellis Island
There had always been Americans who disliked immigration, but after World War I, there were more of them. Senseless arguments were made that certain “races” were inferior. These “races” were the very groups that had entered in large numbers before the war.
In 1921, the U.S. passed its first quota law to limit immigration. The law said that in any one year, the number of people who could enter from a country could be no more than 3 percent of the number of people from that country who had been in the U.S. in 1910. Three years later, there was a new law. It changed the number to 2 percent of the people who had been here from that country in 1890. These laws made it easy for northern Europeans to come in. They kept out southern and eastern Europeans, such as Jews, Italians, and Slavs. More restrictions were passed in 1921. These said that, before they sailed, immigrants had to show they were qualified to enter at a U.S. consulate in their own country. Fewer and fewer immigrants passed through Ellis Island. It was still used for other purposes. The 1921 quota system lasted until 1965.