American Immigration Policy, a Reappraisal

By William S. Bernard; Carolyn Zeleny et al. | Go to book overview

11
Migration and the Post-War World

One of the most significant developments of the years following the Second World War has been a world-wide concern with the problems of migration. This concern is a product of the turbulent decades since the First World War and the population upheavals which have characterized the whole period. At the same time, however, it represents a growing recognition that the problems of migration are closely related to the economic welfare and security of the world as a whole. In order to assess the future role of the United States it is important that we survey the more recent population movements, the changing demographic picture of the Western world, probable future trends in migration, and the emerging pattern of international co-operation with respect to both temporary and long-range aspects of migration.

The First World War marked an abrupt break in the large overseas migration which for more than a century had been steadily rising in volume. Interrupted by the war, this movement dropped suddenly and remained relatively low for the next twenty-five years. From 1901 to 1915 an average of more than one million European emigrants had gone overseas each year, but since then the number per year has been far below this. Thus for the years 1929-1932 the average for the world as a whole was 290,000 per year, and from 1933-1937 it was 150,0001 The institution of restrictive controls by the chief immigrant-receiving nations was one important factor in reducing overseas movement and making it highly selective in character. But such policies were symptoms of the insecurity of

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1
See Table 55.

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