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Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882 Paperback – December 23, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0809053445 ISBN-10: 0809053446 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; First Edition edition (December 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809053446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809053445
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Immigration-perhaps no other subject so contentiously touches on both our collective idealism and our capacity for irrational fear. Nostalgic about past immigrants, we magnify the threat of newly arriving hordes of outsiders. Daniels, author of several books about the Japanese-American experience, judiciously avoids a sweeping narrative in favor of an immersion in the messy details of legislation and demography, although accurate assessments are elusive. Reflecting the lack of overarching plot, the book's first half is chronological to 1965, after which it switches to an ethnic breakdown. As Daniels shows, the subject yields hyperbolic rhetoric and misleading statistics, which rarely lead to coherent or effective legislation. Congress rarely grasp the real ramifications of its immigration policy as it underfunds its nominally ambitious measures. Despite his deeply academic cast of mind, Daniels keeps his prose engaging and lively, as he displays his evident love of accuracy and impatience with obfuscation. Those who read closely will unearth arresting tidbits, such as the central role of the Chinese as targets in virtually all early anti-immigration measures and the brief but virulent anti-Filipino hysteria of the early 1930s. Perhaps most interesting is the final section, in which Daniels tackles broader questions about the debate, including the surprisingly little-changed status of immigration in the post-9/11, post-INS landscape.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Farm laborers from Mexico, computer programmers from Taiwan, political refugees from Vietnam--recent immigrants to the U.S. perpetuate a national tradition stretching back to America's colonial beginnings. But in this carefully researched study, historian Daniels traces an erratic fever chart of changing attitudes among the American lawmakers who have set the conditions for legal entry into the country. Beginning his chronicle with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Daniels probes the convoluted politics behind immigration law, exposing the unexpected emergence of new immigration opportunities from policymaking suffused with racist logic and deceitful rhetoric. Daniels identifies, for instance, the often-overlooked liberalizing provisions of a cold war immigration reform that struck ethnic discrimination from immigration law at a time when American-born blacks were still struggling to achieve their full rights. Similarly, Daniels shows how a 1965 immigration law that its architects supposed would favor Europeans actually opened doors for Asians and Latinos. As Americans continue to debate immigration in a world divided by international terrorism, few books offer a fuller context for the key issues. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Kevin G. Murray on March 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ask the average American where the words "the Golden Door" comes from and I suspect you'd be met with a blank state. It comes from the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to be free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden Door!" Roger Daniels' well researched and carefully nuance view of immigration to America since 1882 is a refreshingly even-handed assessment of America's immigration policies.
For those that wish to shut and lock the "golden door" it would be well to remember this wonderful sentiment from George Washington: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to participate in all of our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment."
The immigration issue is a divisive one in which more often than not we are faced with editorials stipulating that immigrant labor reduces the standard of living and opportunities of employment for all workers. But is this true? Are we not a nation of immigrants? If you want a better understanding of our policies and what this means to America please read this book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Simon Burrow VINE VOICE on November 23, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading "Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882" by Roger Daniels. It focus's most of it's attention on the expanding network of contradictory, unenforceable, political and often blatantly racist immigration laws passed in the United States since the first Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.

It is the best book on the history of US immigration policy that I have read to date. By looking at the history of immigration chronologically by period and then at the effects on groups within each period it makes it possible for the reader to grasp the flow of policy and events. Two areas that aren't well treated in the book are the effects of the various policies on those excluded and other than statistically how immigrant groups melded into the mainstream. The book therefore reads more as a textbook than as a compelling story. But it presents the data well and puts it in one place. The footnotes and the bibliography are both very complete and useful.

Daniels does have a few very interesting graphs. One on page 233 shows the changing attitude of Americans toward immigration over time. According to the Gallup Poll data negative attitudes toward immigration peaked in 1995 and attitudes have been improving since then. Of course the politicians and the bureaucrats have not yet adjusted their actions to this change of attitude.
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Full of statistics and facts about immigration law and the changes since 1790. I found it very helpful in my study of genealogy.
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A good book on the history of immigrants coming to america only to have them turn around and keep others out. Great history book to say the least!
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By Chancellor on August 18, 2014
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Excellent!
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