U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History

by Michael C. LeMay


More than 75 million people have immigrated legally to the United States since 1820, more than to any other country in the world.

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Cover image for U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History

May 2018


Pages 299
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/History
  Race and Ethnicity/General

This invaluable resource investigates U.S. immigration and policy, making links the ethnic and religious affiliations of immigrants to the United States to trends in immigration, both legal and unauthorized.

U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History is rich with data and document excerpts that illuminate the complex relationships among ethnicity, religion, and immigration to the United States over a 200-year period.

The book uniquely organizes the flow of immigration to the United States into seven chapters covering US immigration policy making; the Open Door Era, 1820–1880; the Door Ajar Era, 1880–1920; the Pet Door Era, 1920–1950; the Dutch Door Era, 1950–1985; the Revolving Door Era, 1985–2001; and the Storm Door Era, 2001–2018. Each chapter analyzes trends in ethnicity or national origin and the religious affiliations of immigrant groups in relation to immigration policy during the time period covered.


  • Presents data in 15 tables that provide insight into the relationships between ethnic and religious affiliations of immigrants and policy aimed at regulating the flow of immigration to the United States
  • Offers excerpts from primary source documents in nine boxes that cover immigration policy from 1819–2015
  • Provides a chronology of key immigration policymaking events from 1820–2018
  • Follows the immigrants who entered the US through Ellis Island from 1892–1914
  • Details the distribution, by percent and decade, of the national origin of immigrants from 1920–1950
  • Expands on FBI religion-based hate crimes statistics for 2015
Author Info

Michael C. LeMay, PhD, is professor emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). He is author of more than two dozen academic titles, many of which deal with immigration history and policy. He served as director of the National Security Studies program at CSUSB, an interdisciplinary master's degree program, and as chair of the political science departments both there and at Frostburg State University, in Maryland. He has published seven books with ABC-CLIO.

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