Immigration in the United States: A Comparative Study of the McCarran-Walter Act and Contemporary Immigration Policies

Immigration in the United States: A Comparative Study of the McCarran-Walter Act and Contemporary Immigration Policies - Olena Dobrunik


The main purpose of this essay is to explore the origins and consequences of one of the most significant immigration acts in the history of the United States: the McCarran-Walter Act. Subsequently, the aim will be to compare this Act with current debates over immigration policy in the United States. Therefore, the first part will analyze the origins of immigration, focusing in particular on the role the immigrants had in boosting American society. The second part will expand on the origins of the McCarran-Walter Act, and then analyze its major effects and discriminatory provisions. This analysis will be followed by some overall considerations on whether the goal of the law was achieved or not. Additionally, a comparison will be drawn with the current administration in relation to the Immigration and Nationality Act, framing President Trump’s discourse towards immigration policy. Ultimately, a conclusion will aim at giving an understanding of how permanent and constant the concerns are about immigration in the United States of America.

Part I: The Origins of the American Immigration

Until the year 1882, the United States had virtually no immigration limitations. The active policy at the time was an open door, where people from all over the world, could enter the United States in search of the American dream.1 The policy was partly driven by the abundance of natural resources of the country and the need for labor to foster development. The emerging industries had to be developed, roads had to be built, and lines of communication had to be established.

The countries of emigration also found this policy favorable as they could hope to ease unfavorable pressure within their countries by letting their citizens emigrate. Ambitious and restless spirits could alleviate their lot by sailing to America. Overpopulation, agricultural failures, religious persecution, political malcontent, and low standards of life were all factors that pushed migrants to the other side of the Atlantic. The character of European emigration began to change towards the turn of the century.2 Previously, it was mainly a transfer of farmers from countries with overexploited lands to a country with unrestricted land. Afterwards, it became a rural to urban sort of migration, a migration that was soon to be joined by people living in rural areas of the United States itself.3 It is with this in mind that one should look at the legal setting of the federal laws governing the country’s immigration policy. 

1.1 Immigration Policy before the First World War

If we look at the Federal laws on immigration before 1918 there is little to articulate. Decisions concerning the domain of migration were practically left to the individual states. In fact, some of them incentivized the arrival of immigrants while some of them did not. During the Cleveland administration in 1897, Congress adopted another measure to limit the parameters of entry; a literacy exam was set up for all immigrants, with the clear purpose of favoring the educated and skilled workers over the illiterate ones.4

The first Immigration Commission was established in 1907 and, in the same year, bills were introduced to stop the illegal crossing of borders from the Caribbean and the rest of Latin America.5, 6 This was done with the aim of managing immigration issues both at national and bilateral levels, and constituted one of the first steps towards the adoption of the McCarran-Walter Act. All of this leads one to believe that although the country was originally molded by immigrants and characterized by an open-door policy, the golden age of American open borders was over far before the two World Wars. 

1.2 After the Great War

With First World War came millions of prospective immigrants who sought shelter and opportunities in the New World. The legislation that followed at the end of the war was protectionist; national-origins quotas were imposed for immigrants mostly coming from Europe.7 The fear that the country would be inundated after the War led to the adoption of a strict quota system, which became operative in 1921.8

The motives for this sort of legislation were complex and varied.9 At first, there was the public discontent and reaction to the war’s outcomes, something already present before the war but which took a major turn with the displacement of millions of Europeans.10 Secondly, there was a fear that the arrival of a new workforce, the so-called “pauper labor”, would compete with the existing workforce at lower wages, diminishing the general level of wages.11 Thirdly, a mix of American feelings of innate superiority, a belief in foreigners’ tendency to crimes, and a fear of disbalancing the “American way of life” created a powerful sentiment of unease over to the arrival of immigrants after the war.12, 13

Leaving aside the question of their validity, these motives and the discussion of them appeared frequently in congressional debates and other discussions in the early Twenties. In thirty years’ time, however, internal and external relations had undergone numerous changes. In fact, the previously mentioned innate superiority towards certain nationalities was confined to small groups, and the term “pauper labor” almost disappeared due to assimilation and the need for workforce. Thus, this sort of congressional debate was less intense in the Fifties, and yet, practically the same strict quota system was included in the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Part II: The McCarran-Walter Act

The origins of the Act can be located in the 1947 Senate authorization to investigate and analyze the immigration and naturalization system of the United States. The task was given to a Judiciary Committee and carried out by a subcommittee, which Senator McCarran from Nevada presided over. After three years of work, the committee submitted a report close to a thousand pages to Congress with the aim of introducing a new bill codifying all immigration and naturalization laws. From the House of Representatives, Representative Francis E. Walter from Pennsylvania led the subcommittee with his Senatorial counterpart, Senator Pat McCarran; their leadership gave the name to the Act. Because of criticism from some members of the two chambers, a number of revisions were arranged in the following years. It was with the fourth and final version of the bill that in June 1952, the McCarran-Walter bill, with only slight modifications, was accepted by both Houses. The bill passed over the Presidential veto and became Public Law 414 of the Eighty-second Congress.14


2.1 The Provisions of the Act

It would be extremely lengthy to discuss the many provisions that were included in the Act as a way of conducting a strict immigration policy; therefore, only the most relevant aspects will be described.

First and foremost, there was exclusion. Those who applied for a visa had no legal rights, which for many meant they were denied access to the country without a hearing. Although this practice was mainly introduced to keep out spies and infiltrators, it encouraged a general perception that the consular executives were arbitrary and despotic. Besides exclusion, there was deportation. The law added severe provisions to the body of American legislation; before 1952, foreigners were protected against deportation for crimes committed in their past before the naturalization process. Under the new Act, those people could be convicted for crimes they had committed twenty or even thirty years previously. Similarly, failure to comply with the technicalities of the entry process allowed the Attorney General to deport the immigrant.

Another provision of the Act forbade the entrance of spies and saboteurs in order to assure the security of the United States. While the biggest concern for any administration in the midst of an emerging Cold War was the fear of saboteurs, the law also forbade the admission of sincerely repentant ex-Communists, different from more relaxed processes for ex-Fascists.15 This was inconsistent with the general perception of the time that forbidding honest opponents of Communist regimes from entering the United States, and instead leaving them in those tyrannies, was inconsistent with every ideology of freedom and justice of the Western bloc.16 At the same time, one can justify this as a thinking of 1952. The latter was a year where fascist threats were well defeated, but the unfolding of the bipolar rivalry was marked by hysteria and fear of the other. Hence, even if the provision might seem discriminatory, it marked the idea that Stalinism still represented an active security concern of the United States.17

Furthermore, the McCarran-Walter Act, although conceived to tackle illegal immigration, was written in such broad terms that it endangered the civil rights of native-born citizens. In fact, immigration personnel were allowed to perform a search on any individual suspected to be staying in the country illegally, without the need of any warrant. This clearly violated the Fourth Amendment, which emphasizes the requirement of a warrant for what concerns “the rights of the people to secure in their persons, houses” and so forth.18

The most striking provision concerned racial discrimination. The Act eliminated certain motives of race as a reason for exclusion, but it highlighted different categories of individuals on the basis of “racial ancestry”.19 In this regard, no other group was treated more unfairly than those considered to be of Asian ancestry. In fact, if even only one half of the person’s ancestry was from an Oriental country, that person was immediately lumped under the Asian immigrant quota subgroup, as opposed to the immigrants coming from European countries. For instance, if a German immigrant had Asian ancestry, he would not benefit of the quotas reserved to German nationals, but rather the ones reserved to Asians, making his probability of obtaining entry much lower. Racial prejudice is also seen in the limited quotas for immigrants born in the colonies of the Western Hemisphere. The main goal of this limited quota provision was to exclude the black inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands.20 

These were some of the most disturbing consequences and possible injustices the adoption of the Act generated. There were numerous other provisions, which, for example, focused on loss of citizenship and strict controls for all kinds of scientists wanting to visit or move to the United States. 

2.2 The effects of the Act

The principle that significantly influenced the volume of immigration during the years of the McCarran-Walter Act was the Good Neighbor policy.21 This policy accorded immigrant status outside the quota system to natives of democratic countries of the Western Hemisphere and their families.22 Furthermore, the Immigration and Nationality Act made sure that 50% of each quota was made available first to skilled immigrants whose services where requested in the labor market of the country.23 For this reason, in the year 1954 alone, more than two thousand skilled workers were admitted to the United States. 

With this being said, one should look at the empirical data available to evaluate the effects of the Act on immigration. The number of nonimmigrant visas issued increased from 205,901 in 1945 to an extraordinarily high number of 400,001 in 1954.24 This marked the highest peak ever recorded and constituted an increase of more than fifty thousand non-immigrants in the year 1954.25 Even more striking is that the peak constituted roughly eighty thousand more visas compared to 1952, which was the year before the Immigration and Nationality Act became operative. This leads us to believe that the Act stimulated rather than restricted the flow of nonimmigrants to the United States.26

2.3 A matter of foreign policy?

However, the number of migrants is not the only domain where the Act generated consequences; it also influenced the American foreign policy, a domain where different actors share competences. The first actor is the President. To him, the Constitution delegates the responsibility of giving executive direction to foreign affairs. Therefore, his ideas and decisions determine, for a large part, the pattern of relations with other nations. A second important actor is the Secretary of State, who enacts policies in collaboration with the President. Third and finally is the Congress of the United States. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives, when enacting the legislation, can be crucial in determining the direction of the foreign policy of the country. Any act passed by Congress, which shapes the relations with other states and their people, has immense consequences on the peace and security of the United States. Among these acts is certainly the McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act. The 1952 Act was a product of the Cold War, shaped by Washington's overriding obsession with containing Communism. Its consequences with respect to the foreign policy of the country have to be considered in light of two prominent examples of foreign policy failure, specifically the discrimination against Asians and the construction of a security community in Europe. 

2.3.1 The discrimination against Asians

The Act’s aim was not only to regulate but also to limit the entry of immigrants to the United States, thus creating discontent in different parts of the world. The fact is that this sort of legislation also conflicts with the interventionist foreign policy engaged in by the United States in the 1950s. The disparity between American foreign policy, as defined by the White House and the Secretary of State, and the immigration policy enacted with the McCarran-Walter Act was brought into question with the outbreak of communist hostilities in Korea and the efforts of the United States to defeat those hostilities. When dealing with the foreign policy of that time, one must contextualize those decisions in Cold War logic. According to the words of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the aggression in Asia was, “a grave threat posed to the whole free community.”27 The key goal was, at the time, to fight communism in every corner of the world in order to protect not only the West but also the United States, while also supporting democracy. For this goal, that sort of ideology of the “free world” needed to show a sort of harmony and union between the people of the United States and the people of Asia. 

This is precisely where the McCarran-Walter Act clashed with the foreign policy designed by the American leadership. More accurately, this act discriminated against Asian populations. It was Congress who took a step backward in this regard, through the establishment of a sort of iron curtain called the “Asia-Pacific Triangle.”28 This Triangle was a geographic zone designed to contain immigration and naturalization from that particular area, and included the citizens of countries such as Burma, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, India, and the Pacific Islands.29 Actually, discrimination against Asians, mainly Chinese and Japanese, was already in place in a number of states since 1850.30 However, the impact of a federal law stressed the magnitude of discrimination cultivated by this Act; one must remember that the discriminated countries together constituted half of the world population at that time. Therefore, population groups who were reduced to "second class" by the McCarren-Walter Act struggled to understand the superiority of American ideology and democratic institutions, causing a backlash against global democratic values.32 

What does this tell us? On one side, it shows how, in 1953, President Eisenhower and the State Department attempted to earn the friendship and sympathy of the Asian people through their foreign policy objectives.33, 34 On the other, it clearly points out that in the same time frame, Congress, with the adoption of the McCarran-Walter Act, was going in the opposite direction. The executive branch was seeking equal treatment of different governments, particularly in Asia, to justify the need for Asian countries' citizens to remain pro-Western and preserve the concept of "free nations." The legislative branch, by contrast, considered the Asian people as inferiors and positioned them in a subordinate class of citizens. Even if this clash of policies was not clear to Americans, it surely was to the populations of Asia.35

2.3.2 Towards a European Security Community

Another way the Act collided with the foreign policy objectives of that time regards the creation of a security community in Europe. The establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was deceptive 36 in that it suggested that the United States considered Europeans as partners in the global struggle against Communism and promoted the idealist belief of establishing durable peace in Europe. Because of this, one could have expected legislation promoted by Congress to treat Europeans with a preference, as opposed to an "unwanted" status. 

Instead, Europeans perceived a sense of partiality. More specifically, Greece and Turkey felt slighted by the Act as they were given a low numerical quota comparatively, 308 and 255 respectively. Considering that other European countries received much larger quotas for their citizens, this might have led people to think that, as in the case of the Asians, Turks and Greeks belonged to a different “class” of citizens.37 The Truman Doctrine announced by President Truman in 1947 stated that “the foreign policy and the national security of this country” was involved in the circumstances confronting Greece and Turkey.38 Therefore, when the Cold War began to unfold and the Communist threat started to expand past its traditional borders, the United States had to be considerate of the pivotal points of European continent, specifically Greece and Turkey. 

In a time when the President and the Secretary of State were trying to build bridges to create a collective security community in Europe, torn for centuries by national divisions, the Congress imposed legislation that had the indirect consequence of enhancing those cultural barriers that very much contributed to the Continent’s belligerent past.39 If the will of Senator McCarran was to contribute to the fight against Communism, it is rather difficult to say if the Act had any significant effect or not. The slogan of the Act flaunted the idea “tough on Communists.” However, the very fact that the Act made a distinction not only between supporters on different sides of the Iron Curtain, but divided Americans from Italians, Greeks and Chinese, made it difficult to perceive a toughness on Communists.40 Those distinctions were made with a dose of prejudice and discrimination on the basis of race and nationality and created a certain contrast with the foreign policy objectives that the American leadership had set for the years to come.41, 42


Part III: From Past to Present

Immigration policy is possibly the area of public policy that has caused the biggest amount of conflict. This is true for the time between 1882 and 1952, when presidential vetoes appeared six times over immigration bills, and it is true now. In 1896, President Grover Cleveland was outraged by the imposition of a literacy test upon arrival, calling it “out of the harmony of the spirit of U.S. institutions.”43 Seventeen years later, President Wilson echoed the same ideas, and became the fourth presidential veto on the subject.

It is fair to affirm here that the executive and the legislative branches historically have different concerns. Some scholars suggest that the executive stresses the importance of international interests when deciding upon immigration issues.44 The legislative, by contrast, privileges considerations of a domestic nature in shaping the immigration policy. However, a number of American Presidents expressed deep interest over immigration policies. In fact, the discriminatory nature of the McCarran-Walter Act resonated not only with Truman, who vetoed the bill, but also with Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson who urged Congress to revise the law.45 During a speech in 1963, President John F. Kennedy stated clearly his position of the matter: an immigration reform was necessary, and the current quota system was “intolerable.”46 Aside from this, a fully grown civil society has emerged; the civil rights movement in fact focused on equality regardless of race and nationality, arriving to conclude that the quota system was arcane and discriminatory. From there, Congress began a debate that lasted until the following presidency, after the tragic assassination of President Kennedy. Thereafter, the Johnson administration finally accomplished the goals of previous presidents: persuading Congress to reform immigration law. On October 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill aimed at abandoning the original national quota system and inaugurated a new period of open-door policy. 

The signing of the new Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 marked a historic moment where both branches of government agreed on the basic elements of the immigration policy. 47This renewed concordance was a result of the time: the emergence of developing countries, the attention of the public to human and civil rights, but also the growing emergence of the President as the leading actor of the American political arena.48

3. 1 Then vs. Now: a Comparison

This essay's analysis focuses mainly on the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, with its provisions and consequences, which led to the revision of 1965. For a comparative purpose, it is fair to say that the period examined, even with debatable policies,has lucidly shown a legislative process respectful of the Constitution. Following the concerns of the American people, represented in the legislative branch of 49 the government, Congress passed a bill whose principal aim was to tackle illegal immigration.50 However, in present times, presidential respect for the Constitutional balance seems more endangered than ever, particularly concerning the management of immigration policies.51 The latter, in fact, is dealt with in a very different manner in contemporary times. If in 1952, the Act was adopted after months of long committee hearings, expertise on immigration issues and with congressional approval, the world of 2018 did not seem to go that same direction.52 The President of the United States showed no regard of traditional congressional or legislative procedures; on the contrary, he declared a national emergency to reach his goal of immigration policy.53

President Trump’s idea of immigration governance is far different from the one pursued by Eisenhower, Kennedy, or Johnson. Of course, it is true that times were different. However, his behavior displays not so much a profound care for America, its people, and their jobs, but more an egoistic statement of power.54 In fact, looking at the figures, one can see that illegal immigration through the southern border of the United States was much more intense two decades ago.55 And yet, Trump’s discourse frames the issue in such a way to make it overwhelming and imminent, which has to be handled immediately, with or without the approval of the Congress.56

The policy of “zero tolerance” and the executive order to abolish birthright citizenship would not be as scandalous if they respected the Constitution and the values it carries. And yet, the maneuver chosen by the President of the United States is anything but a constitutional one. In fact, the 14th Amendment is very clear, and overruling it would require a long constitutional process, not a mere executive order. On the same note, the government shutdown due to the disagreement on the budget with the Democrats again shows the President appealing to the most extreme measures in order to achieve what he wants.57 Whether or not he can invoke emergency powers to build his “wall”, the meaning is the same; a president born and molded in the era of the Emergency State will not take a step back, and a Congress who is respectful of the Constitutional tradition will not let its basic principles be turned down by a unilateral decision of the executive.58

On one hand, it is clear that the issue of immigration will constantly absorb a vast portion of debate in the agenda of the United States. On the other hand, it almost seems that from the fifties until now we witnessed a symmetric inversion of concerns of the two branches. The executive shifted its internationalist views to protectionist ideas, where economic deficits, trade disbalances, and unresolved domestic policy issues all find a scapegoat in the arrival of immigrants. By contrast, the legislative abandoned the unilateral view of domestic issues in exchange for an international respect for human rights and a strong commitment to the American Constitution.59 What President Trump clearly shows these days is a decades long tradition of executive privilege. And it is even more so through the eyes of today’s situation: Congress and the courts seem to be codependent and subordinate to a powerful and influential executive, giving place to a quasi-imperial presidency.60 This seems to be in exact opposition to the setting described for the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. Perhaps, if the courts, the media, and civil society join the Congressional opposition, it would be much simpler to safeguard the institutions of democracy, the constitutional tradition of checks and balances, and the basic respect for human rights from any unconventional actor in the political arena of the United States. 


1 “Secretary of State John Hay and the Open Door in China, 1899–1900,” Office of the Historian, Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations, accessed December 15, 2018,

2 Dudley Baines, Emigration from Europe 1815-1930, (1995).

3 Tanton, J., D. McCormack, and J.W. Smith, Immigration and the Social Contract - The Implosion of Western Societies, (Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1996).

4 Similar laws were passed under the Taft and Wilson administrations despite presidential vetoes.

5 James S. Pula, “American Immigration Policy and the Dillingham Commission," Polish American Studies, vol. 37, no. 1 (1980): 5–31.

6 Alejandro Portes and Robert L. Bach, Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States, (University of California Press, 1985). 

7 As few immigrants from Asia and Africa were admitted anyways.

8 Debra L. DeLaet, U.S. Immigration Policy in an Age of Rights, (Praeger Publishers, 2000).

9 Poyntz Tyler, Immigration and the United States, (New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1956): 25-27.

10 Pamela Ballinger, “Impossible Returns, Enduring Legacies: Recent Historiography of Displacement and the Reconstruction of Europe,” Contemporary European History 22, (2013): 127-38.

11 Glickstein, J.A., American Exceptionalism, American Anxiety: Wages, Competition and Degraded Labor in the Antebellum United States, (University of Virginia Press, 2002).

12 Defined as: “lifestyle based on criteria of efficiency and dynamism and characterized by the aspiration to social affirmation,”

13 Tyler, Immigration and the United States, 73-77. 

14 To this regard, President Harry S. Truman vetoed the bill, calling the legislation “un-American” and inhumane,

15 In general, according to the guidelines in the USCIS Policy Manual communism, as an ideology, and from a policy perspective, remains a threat. That is why is has not been removed from the immigration forms. In US Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Policy Manual,” as of June 06, 2019,

16 Tyler, Immigration and the United States.

17 David Priestland, Stalinism and the Politics of Mobilization: Ideas, Power, and Terror in Inter-war Russia, (OUP Oxford, 2007).

18 “Fourth Amendment - U.S. Constitution”, Find Law, accessed December 16, 2018,

19 Lon Kurashige and Alice Yang, Major Problems in Asian American History, (Cengage Learning, 2015). 

20 Robert A. Pastor, Caribbean Emigration and U.S. Immigration Policy: Cross Current, (Univ. Interamericana de Puerto Rico, 1983).

21 Fredrick B. Pike, FDR's Good Neighbor Policy: Sixty Years of Generally Gentle Chaos, (University of Texas Press, 2010).

22 Namely husbands, wives and children.

23 Marion T. Bennett, “The Immigration and Nationality (McCarran-Walter) Act of 1952, as Amended to 1965,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 367, The New Immigration, (1966): 127-136.

24 David Langbart, “Department of State Visa Records in the National Archives,” Foreign Af airs Research Guides, August 1, 2017,

25 US Citizenship and Immigration Service, “Visa Files, July 1, 1924 - March 31, 1944,” last reviewed September 2, 2016,

26 Tyler, Immigration and the United States.

27 The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 1, Chapter 2, "U.S. Involvement in the Franco-Viet Minh War, 1950-1954", (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971).

28 Jcheng, “The Asia-Pacific Triangle,” The planet mongo project, January 14, 2013,

29 Listed in “The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 as Amended Through 1961,” The International Migration Digest, (1964).

30 Particularly, in 1879, California enacted a series of discriminatory laws against Chinese and Japanese. However, another act was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a federal law prohibiting immigration of Chinese labor.

31 United Nations ESCAP, “Population trends in Asia and the Pacific,” November 2013,

32 M. Kazin and J. McCartin, Americanism - New Perspectives on the History of an Ideal, (The University of North Carolina Press, 2006).

33 Just eight months after the act has been adopted by both chambers.

34 With this regard, President Eisenhower underlined the position of the executive by vetoing the Immigration and Nationality Act. Later, his veto was, however, overcame by the Congress, whose interests were mainly focused on domestic issues and whose target were precisely immigration flows.

35 Uma A. Segal, A Framework for Immigration: Asians in the United States, (Columbia University Press, 2002).

36 As defined by A. Cottey “a group of states among whom conflicts are resolved by peaceful means, so there is a high expectation that this norm will be maintained, and that war would therefore be extremely unlikely, if not inconceivable”.

37 Tyler, Immigration and the United States.

38 Harry S. Truman, Truman Doctrine, (1947), 

39 R. Tucker, C. Keely, and L. Wrigley, Immigration and the U.S. Foreign Policy, (Westview Press, 1990).

40 Marius Albert Dimmitt, The enactment of the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, (University of Kansas, 1970).

41 Cheryl Lynne Shanks, Immigration and the Politics of American Sovereignty, (University of Michigan Press, 2001).

42 Tucker, Keely, and Wrigley, Immigration and the U.S. Foreign Policy.

43 Lawrence H. Chamberlain, The President, Congress and Legislation (Columbia University Press, 1946): 357.

44 Tucker, Keely, and Wrigley, Immigration and the U.S. Foreign Policy.

45 “Veto of Bill to Revise the Laws Relating to Immigration, Naturalization, and Nationality, June 25, 1952” Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S. Truman, (1952-53): 441-47.

46 “U.S. Immigration Since 1965,” editors, March 5, 2010,

47 M. D. Morris, Immigration - The Beleaguered Bureaucracy, (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1985).

48 David C. Unger, The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Cost, (Penguin, 2012). 

49 The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act generated a number of controversies within the government itself. In Abner Green, The Walter-McCarran Law: Police-State Terror Against Foreign-Born Americans, (New Century Publishers, 1953).

50 The reasons for this choice were defined in the first part of the paper, mainly safeguarding American labor market and avoiding mass influxes after the war in Europe.

51 For the sake of clarity December 2018.

52 U.S. Immigration Law and Policy, 1952-1979: A Report Prepared at the Request of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Upon the Formation of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979).

53 Stolberg, Gay and Michael Tackett, “Trump Suggests Government Shutdown Could Last for ‘Months or Even Years’,” The New York Times, January 4, 2019,

54 Jacqueline Alemany, “Power Up: Trump has limited options to end government shutdown,” The Washington Post, January 14, 2019,

55 Douglas S. Massey, Jorge Durand and Karen A. Pren, “Why Border Enforcement Backfired,” AJS American journal of sociology, Vol. 121,5 (2016): 1557-1600,

56 Donald Kerwin, “Moving Beyond Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Trump: Principles, Interests, and Policies to Guide Long-Term Reform of the US Immigration System,” Journal of Migration and Human Security, Volume 5, no 3 (2017): 1-36. 

57 The longest concerning funding in the last forty-three three years.

58 Defined as relentless growth of the national security state and the expansion of presidential power at the cost of individual freedoms. The signature institutions of the American emergency state include the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department, and the White House National Security Council, all three created in 1947. In Unger, The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs.

59 Tara Golshan, “Congress failed to do something on immigration — again. Here’s why,” Vox, July 2, 2018.

60 Unger, The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs.