After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965

by Libby Garland. The University of Chicago Press. 312 pages. Hardcover $45.00.


This meticulously researched study provides genuine, if unwelcome, news about the situation of Jews entering—or attempting to enter—the U.S. over a forty-year period. It eviscerates the smug stance of the many Jews and other immigrant groups who have delighted in the assumed legality of their people’s immigration into the U.S. Enough crowing about how much better our group was than today’s “illegals” who are infecting our culture; enough self-congratulation. Tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants were illegals.

Professor Garland’s primary interest, how­ever, is not to issue a comeuppance, but rather to trace the reasons for and the effects of U.S. immigration controls. Her main focus through the early chapters is on the immigration laws of 1921 and 1924 that not only limited total immigration but also, more tragically, limited the number of southern and eastern Europe­ans—and virtually all Asians. The designers of our nation-based quotas blatantly strove to engineer the quality of future U.S. racial and cultural stock. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears on the Jewish Book Council web site and in the upcoming Winter 2014 issue of Jewish Book World, click here: After They Closed the Gates by Libby Garland | Jewish Book Council

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