The National-Origin Immigration Plan

March 12, 1929

Report Outline
The Old and the New Immigration
Post-War Immigration Restriction
Contest Over the National-Origin Plan
Special Focus

The Immigration Act of 1924 provided that the annual immigration quota of each nationality should be two per cent of the number of foreign born individuals of that nationality resident in the United States as shown by the census of 1890. This basis of apportionment was to remain in effect for three years, at the end of which time the national-origin plan of quota apportionment provided in the act was to come into force. It was provided that:

“The annual quota of any nationality for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1927, and for each fiscal year thereafter, shall be a number which bears the same ratio to 150,000 as the number of inhabitants in continental United States having that national origin…bears to the number of inhabitants in continental United States in 1920, but the minimum quota of any nationality shall be 100.”

Provision was made for the determination of the national-origin quotas by a commission made up of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor. The President was to “proclaim and make known” the quotas so determined, and it was provided that: “Such proclamation shall be made on or before April 1, 1927.” The general plan of the act contemplated a three year transition period, and the coming into force at the end of that period of a permanent immigration policy where under the number to be admitted from each nation each year would be in exact relation to the contribution made by that nation to the white population of the United States as it existed in 1920.

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