Most immigrants across the world have considered the United States as their place of destination making the country nicknamed as the ‘land of immigrants.’ However, at the beginning of 1920’s the immigration policies of American changed to restrict the number of foreigners entering the country. This article, therefore, defends the basis over which these new policies got adjusted, to preserve the ideal of U.S. homogeneity. According to Robert Dobrow, Madeleine Kruhly and Steven Malanga arguments, the nation shut its door on the entry of immigrants because of a xenophobic fear of the foreign-born community.
Robert Dobrow explains that Palmar Raids which occurred between November 1919 and January 1920 as a result of a red scare from the foreigners. It raised the fear that communists, socialist as well as anarchists were conspiring to begin a revolution of workers in America (Dobrow 10). This distress plus a bomb attack that hit and damaged the home of Attorney General Mitchell Palmer raised a lot of xenophobic fear which instigated the Palmer Raids. The main objective of the Palmer Raids was thus to stop the working-class renaissance among the foreigners since this would mean dividing workers and initiate the mission of deporting the aliens.
The Palmer Raids saw about 5000 to 10000 (in 23 states) immigrants majority from Europe, detained without trial, rounded-up plus many ultimately deported. Robert Dobrow argues that the problems brought about by the foreign-born outweigh the benefits. During the periods of the economic and political crisis, the foreigners are always made an easy scapegoat for harsh economic conditions (Dobrow 15). Therefore, fighting terrorism out of fear of dissent from foreigners led to the regime change against the Non- Americans.
The article, ‘Is American Identity Rooted in Xenophobia?’ points out the reasons why xenophobia arose in the United States in the 1920s. Madeleine Kruhly highlights that America could no longer trust Europeans and they wanted to break away from the cupidity and domination of imperialism of European (Kruhly 2). America wanted to establish a democratic government of political perfection with a sense of superiority, and this would mean a forceful break with tyrannies of Europe. As a result, America made a policy of isolationism since European foreigners were a threat to American integrity and identity (Kruhly 4). The Americans believed that although the Europeans countries were becoming inoffensive in connection to the rising resources and power of the forever -growing America, they remained a potential threat to the integrity of this much more moral society on account of their appalling wandering away from democracy, that is, the right path of civilization.
According to Steven Malanga in reviewing the tale of Librado Velasquez, although allowing immigrants into the country pays off for the low wage work, America does not have a massive shortage of labor (Malanga 14). Furthermore, most of the rising population of the uneducated and unskilled workers in the country forces out the native workers. In addition to shrinking of industries, these foreign-born workers like Librado Velasquez only lead to the suspension of most businesses investments in modern technologies which would render them less labor-intensive (Malanga 14). Steven Malanga argues that these foreigners add little to the economy of the United States; therefore they come at a more significant cost because they are human beings and not economic abstractions.
In conclusion, the reasons why America chose to close its door on foreigners in 1920’s come about with several ideas like shunning terrorism, assuming a perfect democratic country as well as adopting modern technology in businesses.
Dobrow, Robert. The first mass arrest of immigrant workers. (2006):10-30 www.workers.org/2006/us/palmer-raids-1228/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.
Kruhly, Madeleine. Is American Identity Rooted in Xenophobia? (2012): 2-4. www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/is-american-identity-rooted-in-xenophobia/258507/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.
Malanga, Steven. “How unskilled immigrants hurt our economy.” City Journal 16.3 (2006): 14.
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