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Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants

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Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants: The Immigration Act of 1907 established the Dillingham Commission Report which raised the issue of Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants.

Definition and Summary of the Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants
Summary and definition:
The Immigration Act of 1907 created the Dillingham Commission to review U.S. immigration policy. In 1911 the Dillingham Commission produced a report that highlighted the differences between Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants and the effect on the social, cultural, physical, economic, and moral welfare of the nation.

The Dillingham Commission Report favored the "old immigrant" who had come from North Western areas of Europe as opposed to the "new immigrant" who came from South Eastern areas of Europe and other parts of the world. The argument of Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants concluded that immigration from southern and eastern Europe posed a serious threat to American society and should therefore be greatly reduced.

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants for kids: The Gilded Age
Concerns about immigration during the Gilded Age had led to the rise in Nativism in America and the fear of the growing numbers of immigrants. Industrialization in the Gilded Age, the mechanization of industry and the emergence of the factory system, had resulted in the ever increasing demand for cheap labor which fed the surge in Immigration. This in turn led to the rapid Urbanization in America during the Gilded Age and the massive influx of immigrants to the cities. The problems in the cities during the Gilded Age fuelled the movement to place restrictions on Immigration, the Immigration Act of 1907 was passed and the Dillingham Commission was established. 

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants for kids: The Dillingham Commission Report
The Dillingham Commission was politically motivated to restrict immigration to America. The Dillingham Commission produced a report containing 41 volumes on the subject of Immigration in the United States and kicked off the debate surrounding "Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants" in the United States. The 1911 Dillingham Commission Report detailed information about immigrant occupations, living conditions and education.

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants for kids: The 'Dictionary of Races of People'
One volume of the Dillingham Commission report provided 'A Dictionary of Races of People' which classified immigrants in racial terms in an attempt to discover whether to discover:
 "whether there may not be certain races that are inferior to other races... to show whether some may be better fitted for American citizenship than others."

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants
The Dillingham Report made distinctions were made between the "old immigrant" and the more recent "new immigrant". The report favored the "old immigrant" who had come from North and West of Europe and opposed "new immigrant" who came from the east and south of Europe and other parts of the world.

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants for kids: The "Old immigrant"
The "Old immigrant" was defined as follows:

  •  They were from Anglo-Saxon or Nordic races

    • They came from the West Northern areas of Europe such as Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Germany, France and Scandinavia

    • They shared similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds and it was these people who initially populated America

    • The very foundation of America was built upon the ideas, skills and culture they brought with them

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants for kids: The "New immigrant"
The "New immigrant" was defined as follows:

  • They included Asian, Slovak and Jewish races

  • They came from countries in Asia and South eastern European countries such as such as China, Japan, Korea, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Serbia and Russia

    • They had no connections to America or existing Americans

    • Many had totally different physical characteristics and were easily identifiable as "New immigrants"

    • Many had non-Christian religions and adhered to different beliefs and had experienced totally alien environments

    • They wore completely different clothes, had different hair styles, spoke strange languages, had different tastes in music and art and ate different food

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants Debate: The Dillingham Flaw
The contents of the Dillingham Commission Report was given a huge amount of publicity in the newspapers that gave rise to the Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants Debate. The report was presented as a scientific argument to meet the political agenda of restricting immigration to America and contained racist stereotypes within immigrant ethnic communities. This established an artificial and totally biased view of "old immigrant" and "new immigrant". This highly prejudiced view is referred to as the 'Dillingham Flaw' that made unfair comparisons of the "old" and the "new" immigrant. Although the report contained many statistics and information it failed to take into account that the new immigrants were recent arrivals to America. It failed to take into account the short time the "New Immigrant" had spent in America compared to the "old" immigrant. This clearly impacted the "New Immigrant" in terms of occupations, education, finances, environment, and the rate of assimilation.

Old Immigrants vs New Immigrants: "A Serious Threat to American Culture and Society"
The 1911 Dillingham Commission Report concluded that the "New Immigrants" to America were inferior, unskilled and uneducated workers who failed to integrate with Americans. The Dillingham Commission Report further concluded that the "New Immigrant" posed a serious threat to American culture and society. It recommended that immigration to America should be restricted.

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