1940 - 1970: WW2
The outbreak of World War 2 (1939 -
1945) impacted the first years of mid 1900's US Immigration Trends. World War Two created a
severe labor shortage when
American men were drafted into the military. After the
United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, the federal
government made its immigration laws less restrictive, particularly
for citizens of the country’s wartime allies China, India and the
Philippines and for workers from Mexico. In 1943 the Magnusan Act repealed the 1882
Chinese Exclusion Act and the same year saw the
introduction of the Bracero program with Mexico.
Immigration Trends: The 1943 Bracero Program
Program (1943 - 1965) encouraged Mexican guest workers to
take jobs in
the United States and Mexican migration rapidly increased.
In 1942 the United States made a temporary inter-governmental
agreement for the use of Mexican agricultural labor on United States
farms. In 1943 the Bracero Program brought 5,000,000 temporary
Mexican Laborers to Work in US farms and also on the railroads
during, and after, WW2. The temporary the Bracero Program was
to last for 22 years and farm wages dropped sharply.
Immigration Trends: Post WW2 Trends
President Harry Truman issued a
directive in 1945 that loosened quota restrictions on immigration to
the US of persons displaced by the German Nazi regime. The 1948
Displaced Persons Act enabled the immigration of 400,000 displaced
persons to America. The nation saw a welcome increase to economic
growth and prospects in the U.S. attracted many migrants.
Improvements in land and air travel decreased the cost of travel and
made migration feasible for many more people. The stringent barriers
to immigration in the U.S. as a result of the 1924 National Quota
Act were lowered and new migration to the U.S. came not from Europe,
but primarily from Latin America and Asia.
Immigration Trends: The Korean War
The involvement of the U.S.
military in the Korean War (1950 - 1953) and once again there was a
shortage of labor in the United States. The strong military,
economic and political links between the United States and South
Korea resulted in an increase in the number of Korean immigrants.
During the period between 1950 and 1964, approximately 15,000 South
Koreans immigrated to the United States.
Immigration Trends: Operation Wetback
The Korean War saw a resurgence of
the Bracero Program
and the trend towards Mexican immigration once again
increased. In 1954 the trend
reversed as Operation Wetback came into force during
which time the U.S.
Immigration Service deported more than 3.8 million
people of Mexican heritage.
1940 - 1970: The Cold War Era
The Korean War (1950 - 1953)
heralded the beginning of the Cold War era and communism was seen as
a serious threat to US democracy. In 1952 the McCarran-Walter bill reorganized
the structure of immigration laws to block any spread of
communism and to deny immigration of any enemies of the US during
WWII such as Japan into the country. The
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
erupted and the
(1959 - 1975) was fought as part of the U.S. attempt to prevent the
spread of communism
Immigration Trends: The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act
President John F. Kennedy strongly
advocated the reform the U.S. immigration laws and passed the
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 aka the Hart-Cellar Act. The
act was a major landmark in U.S. immigration law that radically
changed the quota system. The new system allowed immigrants into
America based on family ties and special skills. There were still
limits on immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere but no
'per-country' limits were placed on immigrants from the Western
Hemisphere. Large masses of immigrants from Asian and Hispanic
countries rose dramatically and the new system had a major effect on
on Mexico. Without quotas there was a long waiting list of Mexicans
wanting to immigrate into the United States.