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A Congressman Denounces Immigration Quotas as "Un-American"
Restrictions on immigration, largely aimed at would-be migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, gained considerable popular support during the 1920s. Anti-immigrant sentiment culminated in the Quota Act of 1921, which effectively reduced immigration from those areas to a quarter of pre-World War I levels, and in the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924. Although the later bill passed the Senate with only six dissenting votes, not everyone was persuaded. Congressman Robert H. Clancy defended the Jewish, Italian, and Polish immigrants that comprised much of his constituency and denounced the quota provisions of the bill as "un-American." In a speech before Congress on April 8, 1924, Clancy traces the history of anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and reminds his fellow congressmen that all Americans are of foreign origin.