The Case Against Immigration by Roy Beck

By Roy Beck

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S. Communities (New York: Ford Foundation, April 1993). 22 Lorraine M. McDonnell and Paul T. Hill, Newcomers in American Schools: Meeting the Educational Needs of Immigrant Youth (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1993). Ted Robert Gurr, Violence in America: The History of Crime (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1989). 38 Residents have not approved. A Times-Mirror Center poll in November 1994 indicated that 82 percent of Americans think the United States should restrict immigration. Opposition to immigration is not ideological.

Part of the concern of the liberal restrictionists was the abominable conditions for many immigrants. A congressional study found that new arrivals were three times more likely than natives to be on welfare in 1909; immigrants comprised more than half the people on welfare nationwide. Chicago was especially hard-hit; four out of every five welfare recipients at that time were immigrants and their children. Foreign-born residents constituted a third of the patients in public hospitals and insane asylums in the country.

The situation was worse in New York City, where the president of the board of health said that almost half the expenditures were for the immigrant poor. A national commission studied the impact of immigration for five years and concluded in 1911 that it was contributing to low wages and poor working conditions. It was not until 1917, however, that immigration restrictions finally were enacted into law as the House (287106) and the Senate (62-19) overrode President Wilson's second veto. In the public's view, the 1917 action did not block enough immigrants.

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