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In the 1920s, the U.S. Congress passed laws designed to drastically limit the immigration of foreigners considered inferior and a threat to the nation. Many Jews, along with others targeted by immigration restrictions, entered the United States anyway, in violation of the law, with the aid of smugglers or forged documents. This lecture discusses this dramatic history and how it helps us understand our current historical moment.
Libby Garland is associate professor of history at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York and the author of After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965, winner of the American Jewish Historical Society’s Saul Viener Book Prize and the American Historical Association’s Dorothy Rosenberg Prize in 2015.