Conclusions and Recommendations
Two decades ago a major change was made in American immigration policy. That policy was a reversal of the Open Door under which, in one hundred years, thirty-eight million persons had crossed the Atlantic. This huge migration was an outstanding practical success, as well as a symbol to the whole world of American faith in equality and democracy. After the First World War there seemed to be cogent reasons for reducing the continuous flow of immigrants which for a decade or more previously had averaged one million a year. It is understandable that in the period of isolationism immediately following the war the pendulum with respect to immigration policy should have swung to the opposite extreme. Restrictive legislation, beginning in 1921, culminated in the quota system and the National Origins Law, which has been in effect since 1929. This law, while sharply restricting total annual quota immigration from overseas to slightly over 150,000, at the same time introduced a new and foreign principle into American life: preferential treatment for immigrants from northern and western Europe as against those from southern and eastern Europe.
With the march of events, this discriminatory feature of our immigration law has come to appear increasingly inconsistent with our democratic traditions and ideals and our responsibilities in the world. It embodies an indefensible doctrine concerning differences between various groups of people. It is based on a misreading of the history of our country which has been enriched