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The Anarchist Exclusion Act was passed by the United States Congress in 1903[1] to prevent the immigration of and to allow the deportation of immigrants to the United States who subscribed to anarchist ideas. Passed in 1903, it had a very limited impact. Advocates for using the immigration laws to combat radicalism campaigned to expand the law's definitions of those who could be excluded or deported, and the Immigration Act of 1918 did that.

Contents

The 1903 act

The Anarchist Exclusion Act (officially "An Act To regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States", ch. 1012, 32 Stat. 1222)[2] was passed by the 57th United States Congress, on its last day of session, March 3, 1903 and re-enacted on June 29, 1906,[3] soon after the assassination of U.S. President William McKinley by Leon Czolgosz, who was the American-born son of Polish immigrants. President Theodore Roosevelt requested the legislation from Congress, which was the first legislation in the U.S. since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 that permitted those attempting to enter the country to be questioned about their political beliefs.[4] The act specifically barred anyone:[5]

who disbelieves in or who is opposed to all organized government, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization entertaining or teaching such disbelief in or opposition to all organized government.

Immediately following a speech given by a Scottish anarchist named John Turner at the Murray Hill Lyceum, Bureau of Immigration officials arrested Turner and found a copy of Johann Most's Free Society and Turner's speaking schedule, which included a memorial to the Haymarket Martyrs. This was enough evidence to deport him. Immediately following, Emma Goldman organized a Free Speech League to contest the deportation. She recruited Clarence Darrow and Edgar Lee Masters to defend him.[6] After Goldman organized a meeting at Cooper Union of those opposing the deportation, a New York Times editorial argued in favor of the act and the deportation of Turner. It referred to the people at the meeting as "ignorant and half-crazy dreamers" and declared that it was the country's "right - in the belief of Congress and of many, probably of most, Americans', it makes it our duty - to exclude him."[5]

Darrow and Masters presented their defense of Turner before the U.S. Supreme Court. They argued that the law was unconstitutional and that Turner was merely a "philosophical anarchist" and therefore not a threat to the government. The Court ruled against Turner, with Chief Justice Melville Fuller writing the majority opinion. Fuller held that the Bill of Rights did not apply to aliens and that Congress had the right to deny entry to anyone they deemed a threat to the country. Turner became the first person deported under the act.[6]

Another important feature of the law was that it limited the deportation of non-citizen anarchists to the first three years of their residency in the United States, a feature that drew complaints from immigration officials: "The anarchist of foreign birth...remains very quiet, as a rule, until the time limit protects him from deportation and then he is loud and boisterous and begins his maniac cry against all forms of organized government....There should be no time limit to the deportation of these criminals...and should one remain in hiding sufficiently long to become naturalized he should, at the first symptoms, be shorn of his cloak and forthwith deported."[7]

The impact of the law was slight. The Commissioner-General of Immigration reported that from the time the law took effect in 1903 until June 30, 1914, a total of 15 anarchists were denied entry to the U.S. He reported that four anarchists were expelled in 1913 and three in 1914.[8]

Immigration Act of 1918

Suspected "radicals" arrested during the Palmer Raids awaiting deportation hearings
Ellis Island, January 1920

The "Immigration Act of 1918," ch. 186, 40 Stat. 1012) was enacted on October 16, 1918.[9] It expanded and elaborated the brief definition found in the Anarchist Exclusion Act 17 years earlier to read:[10]

(a) aliens who are anarchists;
(b) aliens who advise, advocate, or teach, or who are members of, or affiliated with, any organization, society, or group, that advises, advocates, or teaches opposition to all organized government;
(c) aliens who believe in, advise, advocate, or teach, or who are members of, or affiliated with, any organization, association, society, or group, that believes in, advises, advocates, or teaches:
(1) the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law, or
(2) the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers, either of specific individuals or of officers generally, of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government, because of his or their official character, or
(3) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property, or
(4) sabotage;
(d) aliens who write, publish, or cause to be written or published, or who knowingly circulate, distribute, print, or display, or knowingly cause to be circulated, distributed, printed, or displayed, or knowingly have in their possession for the purpose of circulation, distribution, publication, or display any written or printed matter, advising, advocating, or teaching opposition to all government, or advising, advocating, or teaching:
(1) the ovethrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law, or
(2) the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers of the Government of the United States or of any other government, or
(3) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property, or
(4) sabotage;
(e) aliens who are members of, or affiliated with, any organization, association, society, or group, that writes, circulates, distributes, prints, publishes, or displays, or causes to be written, circulated, distributed, printed, published, or displayed, or that has in its possession for the purpose of circulation, distribution, publication, or display, any written or printed matter of the character in subdivision (d).

In 1919, the New York Times reported that in the fiscal year 1918, two anarchists were denied entry to the U.S., 37 were deported, and 55 were awaiting deportation.[11]The Times offered an editorial comment contrasting those low numbers with the degree of public disturbance the country was experiencing: "It appears to be difficult to find alien anarchists. Yet those in the United States seldom practice long either silence or concealment."

Among the more notorious anarchists deported under the Act were Luigi Galleani and several of his adherents. They had been responsible for a deadly bombing campaign that had climaxed in 1919[12] and 1920.[13] Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, both resident aliens, were also deported pursuant to the Act.[14]

After more than four thousand alleged anarchists were arrested for deportation under the act, the Department of Labor released the bulk of those arrested. Acting Secretary of Labor Louis Freeland Post was threatened with impeachment for his findings in favor of those charged in deportation cases.[15] A total of 556 persons were eventually deported under the Immigration Act of 1918. It was repealed in 1952.

See also

References

  1. ^ Paul Avrich, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 130
  2. ^ Van Dyne, Frederick (1904/1980). Citizenship of the United States. Wm. S. Hein Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 0837712297. http://books.google.com/books?id=2XWHKuYL-MUC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=who+disbelieves+in+or+is+opposed+to+all&source=web&ots=6aSQZLs7y7&sig=MOoJ62bfyr9WRjzbSBanVx4-B6U. 
  3. ^ Greeley, Horace (1909). The Tribune Almanac and Political Register. The Tribune Association. p. 131. http://books.google.com/books?id=n4w3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA131&lpg=PA131&dq=who+disbelieves+in+or+is+opposed+to+all&source=web&ots=so7lfGe1I_&sig=sAQ51cowzlVVmfVM-0gcw0SBLpA. 
  4. ^ Vowell, Sarah (1999). Assassination Vacation. Simon and Schuster. p. 220. ISBN 074326004X. http://books.google.com/books?id=XdJid7UW9PEC&pg=PA220&lpg=PA220&dq=%22anarchist+exclusion+act%22&source=web&ots=DK-PuD26Tm&sig=GGXQ_vEr-FtTs7yz98FL7WP6y00. 
  5. ^ a b "In Defense of Anarchy" (newspaper). New York Times (New York, New York: The New York Times): p. 8. December 5, 1903. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D04E4D71039E333A25756C0A9649D946297D6CF. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  6. ^ a b Chalberg, John (1991). Emma Goldman: American Individualist. Harper Collins. p. 85–86. ISBN 0673521028. 
  7. ^ Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration to the Secretary of Labor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1913 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1914), 227, 259
  8. ^ Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration to the Secretary of Labor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1914 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1914), 7, 104-7, 110. The years 1913 and 1914 refer to fiscal years ending on June 30.
  9. ^ Remsen Crawford (July 10, 1921). "New Immigrant Net: How Other Causes Have Anticipated Effect of the Dillingham Act" (newspaper). New York Times (New York, New York: The New York Times). http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9900E5DE173EEE3ABC4852DFB166838A639EDE. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  10. ^ Paul Avrich, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 133
  11. ^ "Alien Anarchists" (newspaper). New York Times (New York, New York: The New York Times): p. 14. December 15, 1919. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C05EFD9123BEE32A25756C1A9649D946896D6CF. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  12. ^ Ann Hagedorn, Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919 (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2007), 184-5, 218-22
  13. ^ Gage, Beverly, The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror (NY: Oxford University Press, 2009)
  14. ^ Robert K. Murray, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955), 206-8
  15. ^ Stanley Coben, A. Mitchell Palmer: Politician (NY: Columbia University Press, 1963), 233-4; Louis F. Post, The Deportations Delirium of Nineteen-Twenty: A Personal Narrative of an Historic Official Experience (NY, 1923), 243-4
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