Monday, June 18, 2018

A New Item at “Immigration and the Law: A Chronology”

We have now added the Immigration Act of 1929 to Immigration and the Law: A Chronology. This was the first law making it a crime to cross the border without authorization.

1929: Immigration ActFor the first time makes it a crime to enter the country by fraud or anywhere other than at an official port of entry. This becomes a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Reentry of a previously deported alien is now a felony. The act adds two deportable classes: immigrants convicted of carrying any weapon or bomb and sentenced to any term of six months or more, and immigrants sentenced to a year or more for violation of Prohibition laws. Known as “Blease’s Law,” for the white supremacist senator who sponsored it.

Here is a link to an article by Kelly Lytle Hernandez giving some more history on the law, which was proposed by a white supremacist from South Carolina.

We weren’t able to find the text of the law online. If any reader knows how to access the text, please write us at Also, we welcome suggestions about other additions to the chronology, or any corrections you feel are necessary. We want this chronology to be a useful tool for people trying to understand the origins of today’s immigration system.

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