Johnson-Reed Act

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The Johnson-Reed Act, a.k.a. the Asian Exclusion Act (not to be confused with the Chinese Exclusion Act,Wikipedia the Immigration Act of 1924, or the National Origins Act) was a racially-motivated law passed by Congress restricting immigration in an era of extremist nativism. Its primary targets were Asians and Eastern Europeans.[1]

The architects of the Johnson-Reed Act were far-right Republicans David A. ReedWikipedia and Albert Johnson,Wikipedia who were motivated by Progressive EraWikipedia eugenics and hatred of immigrants. Johnson's long-held ties to the Ku Klux Klan were exemplified in legislating their anti-immigration agenda obsessed with white racial demographics, and his subsequent 1926 re-election as a congressman emerged as a priority for the national KKK so, in the Klan's words, "so he can continue to be Chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and fight for restricted immigration laws."[2] Whether he ever claimed Klan membership is unknown, however.[3] Ideological allies and influencers of Johnson included anti-Semitic diplomat Wilbur J. Carr,Wikipedia author of a 1920 report branding Jewish refugees as "inferior."[4] Reed's inherent cynical attitudes were subsequently repeated in manifestation years later in overtly advocating a revolutionary alteration of the United States government under a model of Italian Fascism.Wikipedia[5]

Antipathy towards big business was a traditional factor motivating immigration restriction. Business interests were viewed as a cycling perpetuation of wage reduction by opening doors to immigrants over "native-born" Americans, a viewpoint held by Johnson.[6]

Passage of the Johnson-Reed Act in the United States House of Representatives was overwhelming, and President Calvin CoolidgeWikipedia signed the bill after Senate approval.[1] Following legal enacting, a published editorial by Reed on The New York Times boasted of "America of the Melting Pot Comes to End."[7] Contemporary defenders of Coolidge point to his disdain of racial exclusion and the veto-proof congressional passage,[8] although his eugenicist viewpoints motivating regressive immigration policy are hardly praiseworthy.

Provisions of the Johnson-Reed Act faced only partial repeal in 1952 by the McCarran-Walter ActWikipedia.[1][9]

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