Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

1903 – Anarchist Exclusion Act Enacted; Exclusion of Immigrants Based on Political Ideology Begins

“[F]oreign-born political radicals stirred public concern. Beyond urban machine politics that relied on alien grist and rising religious differences between largely Protestant natives and Catholic immigrants, alien troublemakers — anarchists — were afoot on American soil… President William McKinley, who had campaigned on a platform of tariffs and ‘big tent’ themes directed at immigrants (‘America for Americans, native and naturalized’), fell to an assassin’s bullet in 1901. Leon Czolgosz, called ‘an anarchist of American birth but obviously foreign extraction,’ sparked congressional action to add anarchists to the exclusion list. The 1903 law provided for exclusion and deportation of alien anarchists — those foreigners who believe in or ‘advocate the overthrow by force of violence of the Government of the United States or of all governments or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials.’ The 1903 Act also both bolstered public health exclusions and provided for limited exceptions for certain diseased aliens.”