Fear, Loathing and Immigration: The Battle Was Once Much Worse

May 17th, 2019

OkrentBook.jpgImmigration and the fear of outsiders is a deep strain in the American psyche. It didn’t start with Donald Trump. In fact, it hasn’t even reached its full flowering under this administration. When Trump talked of murderers and rapists coming to the border, of other nations not sending us their best, he was merely echoing a historical context that has actually played out in far worse ways in our history

From the Chinese Exclusion Act through the highly restrictive immigration acts passed in the early 20th century, the white Christians have always felt under siege. To make matters even worse, in the early part of the 20th century the rhetoric and false science of eugenics was weaponized in the immigration battles.

This is the story that my guest Daniel Okrent tell in The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America:

My conversation with Daniel Okrent:

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