Guarding the Golden Door

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American immigration history is the story of bonded, free, and enslaved migrant labor. Immigration to a settler society advances resource extraction and economic development. Extracting agricultural products and natural resources from land can Require forced labor. Over the last 30 years the United States has been turning once again into a nation of immigrants. Roger Daniels is especially sensitive to the role of race and ethnicity in shaping American immigration policy. Daniel provides an expert reexamination of American immigration policy and immigrant history. Daniels book builds upon his lifetime of work in American immigration and Asian American history. He notes that Americans have a dualistic attitude. On one part reveling in the nation’s immigrant past, and on the other rejecting much of its immigrant present” (p. 6).He identifies important points in the history of immigration to the United States, beginning with the racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and following the twists and turns in official policy up to the present debate on how to control illegal immigration. One of the great merits of Guarding the Golden Door, his comprehensive overview of that policy since 1882, giving appropriate attention to unrelenting efforts to keep out Asians in their near-total exclusion in 1924. Throughout, the author argues that immigration policy is often based on unfounded assumptions and often produces results completely opposite to those intended. The gates were narrowed in the 1920s for Europeans as well, and drawn still tighter during the Depression, with particularly dire consequences for persecuted Jews and others in desperate need of asylum. The golden door all began from Ellis Island. Ellis Island is located at the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast within the shadow of the stature of liberty. From 1892-1954 over twelve million immigrants entered the united states through Ellis Island, a small Island in New York Harbor. Many came because they were...
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