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History of Immigration to Rhode Island

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Michael Cavanaugh

on 12 April 2013

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Transcript of History of Immigration to Rhode Island

Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island History of Immigration to Rhode Island "Remember,
remember always that all of us,
and you and I especially, are descended from
immigrants and revolutionists" "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" ---Franklin D. Roosevelt http://www.blackstonedaily.com/People/bvpeople.htm Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty
by Emma Lazarus
1675-1725 Quakers settle in Rhode Island (1)
Many early immigrants to Rhode Island were English Protestant
But there were also French Huguenot and Jewish immigrants (2)
•In 1790, the United States conducted its first census.
At the time of the census, the population of Rhode Island was 68,825, and 71% of Rhode Island’s population was of English ancestry (3)
•The 2000 census showed that 12% of Rhode Island’s population indicated they were of English ancestry (4)
•As the industrial revolution boomed in Rhode Island in the early 1800s, many mill owners needed laborers and went to Quebec, Canada to recruit mill workers (5)
•Many French Canadians accepted the offers and saw them at first as short-term opportunities
However, many French Canadians came “to “dominate certain towns, in particular Woonsocket” (5)
Woonsocket became “the most French speaking community in the Nation at one time” (6) It is important to note that Rhode Island is considered the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution (Samuel Slater’s cotton spinning mill---Pawtucket, RI)
This created a huge demand for labor and immigrants came to fill the need, especially in Rhode Island
This influx of immigrant workers and their families has provided Rhode Island with a diverse history of immigration
“Heavy Irish immigration began 1830 and continued through the rest of the nineteenth century” (2)
1840s potato famine forced many Irish from their homes
But actually started before…
Many Irish immigrants had experience in canal building, and their skills were sought to help build the Blackstone Canal (Links Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island), which began in 1825 (6)
After the canal was completed, many remained in Rhode Island, especially Providence, “as their stone mason, construction and artisan skills were highly sought” (6) http://www.sailsinc.org/durfee/mannslides.htm http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Du-Ha/French-Canadian-Americans.html http://b-womeninamericanhistory18.blogspot.com/2011/09/philadelphia-born-quaker-minister.html
According to the 2000 census, Rhode Island has the third largest population (91,445) of Portuguese-Americans in the US (9)
8.7% of the population of Rhode Island (4)
Rhode Island “developed very strong Portuguese communities during the early 19th century that grew with the oncoming mass immigration during the end of the century” (11)
This can be attributed to the labor opportunities in factories, and as the Portuguese workers established communities in Rhode Island, more Portuguese immigrated to the area History of Swedish Immigration Early History of Immigration History of English Immigration The Industrial Revolution: 1800s History of French Canadian Immigration History of Irish Immigration As Irish immigration continued to Rhode Island, their political power also increased in the area (6) and many began to climb the ladder.
One particularly important Irish immigrant was Joseph Bannigan who opened a rubber company and hired many Irish immigrants (6)
Irish immigrants flocked to Rhode Island to fill the demand for mill workers (6)
The Catholic Church played a very important role in many Irish immigrants lives in Rhode Island, especially because many Irish immigrants “were often looked down on if not Protestant” (6)
The 2000 Census showed that 18.4% of Rhode Island population is Irish (second to Italian) (4) History of Portuguese Immigration There was a “second wave of Portuguese immigration” to Rhode Island in the 1960s and 1970s (11)
There were also numerous farming opportunities available to Portuguese immigrants, especially in Newport and along the coast of Rhode Island (12, p.444) Began in the 1870s
Swedish immigrants were “specifically recruited to work in the steel and wire industries” (5)
“Agents for the wire works and others in the steel industry” actually went to Sweden to recruit these workers (5)
Also worked in East Providence or Rumford Chemical Works which produced baking powder that was exported around the world (8) History of Italian Immigration
“Large-scale Italian immigration to Rhode Island began in the late nineteenth century” (13)
In only 50 years (1850 to 1900), Rhode Island’s Italian immigrant population skyrocketed from only 25 Italians living in Rhode Island in 1850 to nearly 9,000 in 1900.
“In 1910, 20,000 Italians were employed in mills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.” (14) Italian immigrants tended to settle in areas where they already had friends and relatives living and by 1920 made up 19% of Rhode Island’s population, which were the “largest number of foreign-born” residents in the state (13).
Certainly, the “most famous Little Italy in Rhode Island” is Federal Hill (13).
Today, Italians make up 19% of Rhode Island’s population which is the largest group History of Italian Immigration History of Greek Immigration Began in 1890---Many came to East Coast to work, and found jobs in Rhode Island
Economic hardship in Greece at this time
This continued until 1917 and thousands of young Greek boys came to work in American and sent money home to support their families in Greece (8)
By 1913 “Pawtucket was home to the largest Greek community in Rhode Island” (8)
In 1965 Greek immigration once again flowed to the US and Rhode Island area as the 1965 Immigration Act ended the strict quotas on immigrants which was the American “immigration policy since the 1920s” (15) http://www.magazineusa.com/images_st2/ri/providence/federal_hill.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5195R1EDPPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
According to the 2010 census, there are 130,655 Latinos and Hispanics living in R.I. (17)
Began in the 1960s (18, p.21)
Between 1970-1980 and 1980-1990 “Rhode Island experienced one of the highest rates of Latino population growth in the country” (18, p.23)
Why? http://www.blackstonedaily.com/People/bvpeople.htm http://repeatingislands.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/naam.jpg Lets look at the History of U.S. Immigration Policy People who Scapegoat Immigrants, often Forget our Nation's History Early immigrants "came in search of economic opportunity and political freedom" (7, p.1): Early Mid-1900s to Today As new immigrants came to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s: Immigrants who came in the Mid-1900s and those who come to America in search of a better life today still face discrimination: Late 1800s-Early 1900s So where are we now? First we must look at how our nation has perceived immigrants through the years Lets start from the beginning... Immigration Policy
1921-1985 Immigration Policy 1986 to Present Early immigrants often discriminated against these new immigrants and "sometimes viewed [them] as 'racially' and religiously suspect" (7, p.1) However, many of these immigrants prospered through the use of African slave labor and took land that belong to Native Americans The descendants of earlier immigrants "have often taken a dim view of the growing numbers of Latin American, Asian, and African immigrants" (7, p.1) Unrestricted Immigration:
1492-1874 "Centralized Control of Immigration":
1875-1920 First immigrants arrive "sometime between 12,000 and 30,000 years ago by crossing the Bering Strait" (7, p. 2)
As these immigrants move across North, Central and South America, Christopher Columbus arrives in the Bahamas in 1492
His arrival sparks colonialism in the "New World"
During colonial era "there was no centralized regulation of immigration to North America" (7, p.2)
European settlements sprout across future U.S.
Spain, 1565 (Present day Florida)
England, 1607 (Jamestown, Virginia)
Puritans, 1620 (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
Dutch, 1624 (New Amsterdam, Present day Manhattan)
French, 1699 (Present day Louisiana)
These colonies attracted other European settlers (especially the English colonies) Following the end of the American Revolution in 1783, "the federal government of the new United States left immigration matters up to individual states" (7, p.2)
Naturalization Act of 1790- "attempt to create uniformity among the states in the rules governing who could become a U.S. citizen" (7, p.2)
Act had no impact on deciding who could immigrate to U.S.
Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798- "included provisions authorizing the President to deport any foreigner deemed dangerous to the United States" (7, p.2)
First law related to immigrants
Steerage Act of 1819- "established continual reporting of immigration to the United States by requiring that the passenger manifests of all arriving ships be turned over to the local Collector of Customs, copies be sent to the Secretary of State, and this information be reported to Congress" (7, p.2) As the United States expanded, immigrants fed the growing need for settlers and workers
US expands westward through land purchases and annexation
Homestead Act of 1862- "offered free plots of land in the West to settlers, both immigrants and native-born, who agreed to live on and develop the land for at least five years" (7, p.3)
Mid-1800s sees huge population growth...Why?
California Gold Rush- Gold discovered in 1848
"Crop failures in Germany", 1840s (7, p.3)
Potato Famine in Ireland, 1845-1849
"Economic, social, and political turmoil engendered throughout Europe by industrialization" (7, p.3)
Following end of the Civil War in 1865, many immigrants come to US in order "to take advantage of new opportunities and to work in the railroad, steel, oil, and other industries" (7, p.3) The first act aimed at excluding particular groups of people from entering the US passed in 1875
"The first federal act...targeted criminals, prostitutes, and Chinese contract laborers, or 'coolies'" (7, p.3)
Chinese immigrants were further excluded under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This act:
"Suspended the immigration of all Chinese workers to the United States for 10 years "
"Barred Chinese immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens"
"Provided for the deportation of Chinese immigrants unlawfully present in the country" (7, p.3)
Additional laws banned those who were deemed "undesirable" The Immigration Act of 1891:
"First comprehensive national immigration law" (7, p.3)
Created Bureau of Immigration
"Allowed for the deportation of immigrants who enter the country unlawfully"
"Added polygamists and individuals suffering from certain contagious diseases to the ranks of inadmissible aliens" (7, p.3)
Additional acts were often based in an "overtly racist (and religious) bias against Asians and southeastern Europeans"
Anarchist Exclusion Act in 1903:
"barred anarchists or other political extremists from entering the United States"
The Immigration Act of 1907:
"mandated the exclusion of 'imbeciles,' 'feeble-minded' persons, individuals afflicted by a physical or mental disability that might impede their ability to earn a living, those with tuberculosis, children not accompanied by their parents, and individuals who admit to having committed a crime of 'moral turpitude.'” (7, p.4) The Immigration Act of 1917:
"defined a “barred zone” of nations in the Asia-Pacific triangle from which immigration was prohibited" (7, p.4)
As these new acts were being passed, immigration was at an historic high for our nation The National Origins Quota System: 1921-1964 In the late nineteenth century, as Rhode Island’s economy boomed, many companies began looking to France for new methods of manufacturing.
After making contact with French industrialists, the French brought their skills to Rhode Island, and in particular Woonsocket, where they opened French companies.
By 1929, “there were ten major French companies with mills in Woonsocket, plus many smaller companies” (16, p.26)
The 2000 Rhode Island census showed people of French descent made up 10.9% of the population (4) History of French Immigration http://i43.tower.com/images/mm101676812/french-immigrants-1840-1940-kay-melchisedech-olson-hardcover-cover-art.jpg History of Latino Immigration It is first important to point out that Rhode Island is not considered a “gateway” for obvious reasons (27)
Many Latino immigrants have lived elsewhere before coming to Rhode Island (although this is not always the case)
Many “recruited to work in agricultural and manufacturing” (24)
Communities were established, which provided infrastructure for more immigration to the area Puerto Ricans Not technically immigrants (US citizens at birth)
US Policy- in 1900 Congress established “a civil government in Puerto Rico and the Jones Act grant[ed] U.S. citizenship” to all Puerto Ricans in 1917 (19)
Began coming to Rhode Island in 1920s (18, p.35)---peaked in late 70s and 80s
Availability of manufacturing jobs Dominicans Immigration to US begins in larger numbers after fall of brutal dictator General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo
Immigration to Rhode Island increased in 80s
Many came from New York in search of a better life for their family and for jobs that were available (especially in the Providence area) Columbians Steady growth of Columbian immigrants to United States in the 1960s (18, p.40)
Peaked in 1970s
Many came to work at textile mills in Central Falls area (north of Providence) (18, p.41)
They were recruited by an MIT student named Jay Guttiari
His father was experiencing a labor shortage at his textile mill. While visiting his roommate in Columbia, “he saw first-hand the highly skilled work of the textile workers” in Columbia and after calling his father, Jay began recruiting the skilled workers for his father’s mill (18, p.41).
Columbian immigration has had a lasting impact on the Central Falls area and there is still a large Columbian community there today (18, p.43) Guatemalans First began arriving in 1960s (18, p.44)
Many Guatemalans fled to the United States in the 1980s “due to the violence and economic problems caused by the civil war” in Guatemala (18, p.43)
Which began after the United States “helped overthrow the Socialist government of Jacobo Arbenz” (18, p.43)
What attracted many Guatemalans to Rhode Island was that “it was a peaceful place” when compared to the large, bustling cities of New York and Boston (18, p.44) Mexicans There is “some evidence to suggest that there were small pockets” of Mexicans living in Rhode Island in the 1920s (18, p.47)
However, most came to Rhode Island in the mid-1990s
Many came to work “in the jewelry industry in Providence” (18, p.47)
The 2000 Census “ranked the Mexican population in Rhode Island” fourth (18, p.48) http://c.o0bg.com/rf/image_r/Boston/2011-2020/2012/07/29/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/C58C7635.r.jpg http://nymag.com/daily/intel/20061114dr.jpg http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/.a/6a00d83451c3cb69e20120a692bea9970c-320wi http://www.mapsofworld.com/images/world-countries-flags/guatemala-flag.gif http://southernnationalist.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Mexican-American.jpg History of Cape Verdean Immigration Two states with the largest Cape Verdean populations are Massachusetts and Rhode Island (6)
Connection between Cape Verdeans and New England began after the American Revolution (20)
First Cape Verdean came to New England area on whaling ships after being recruited by sailors off the coast of Cape Verde (6)
New Bedford, MA and Providence, RI are “the oldest and largest Cape Verdean communities in America” (20) Although there was only a small amount of Cape Verdean immigration to the New England area in the early l800s” by the “turn of the century” the number of immigrants increased tremendously “as Cape Verdeans fled cycles of severe drought, starvation, perennial economic hardship and colonial neglect” (20)
Today, Pawtucket, Rhode Island has one of the fastest growing Cape Verdean populations
Ryan Gomes is one famous Cape Verdean-American. Gomes was an All-American basketball player at Providence College and he played 7 seasons in the NBA (2 seasons with the Boston Celtics) History of Liberian Immigration As “economic conditions deteriorated in the 1970s”, many Liberians experienced hardship (21 p.2)
The economic hardship was followed by a civil war in 1989
Liberians fled from their homes and the civil war raged on and “a large percentage fled to the United States and specifically to the state of Rhode Island” (21 p.3)
“By 2003-2004, Liberians constituted the second largest group of
refugees in U.S.”(about 200,000) (21 p.5)
“More than 15,000 Liberians have entered the United States since
1991, under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS)” (21 p.7)
Many Liberian immigrants have played an important role in “the development of America… several are college professors and high school teachers, while others are church ministers and
community leaders” (21 p.6) The Quota Law of 1921:
"First immigration law to impose numerical limits on immigration" (7, p.4)
Limited to 350,000 per year
This number was further decreased by the National Origins Act of 1924, which reduced the cap to 165,000 Immigration laws during WWII and the start of the Cold War: "Marked by contradictory tendencies"
"Surge of anti-Japanese settlement" but also "the loosening of restrictions against other Asian immigrants" (7, p.4)
The Alien Registration Act of 1940
Required registration and fingerprints of all foreigners (over 14)
US response to Pearl Harbor, 1941
In 1942, US detains "120,000 persons of Japanese descent...about two-thirds of them US citizens" and "imprisoned them in 'relocation' camps" (7, p.5)
They were not allowed to leave until 1945
However, in 1943 an act "allowed the immigration of Chinese workers to resume (at a quota of 105 per year) and made persons of Chinese descent eligible for naturalization, thereby effectively repealing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882" (7, p.5) The Displaced Persons Act of 1948
Allowed up to 250,000 refugees to enter US
Particularly "from those parts of Europe annexed by the Soviet Union" (7, p.5). However, two years later...
The Internal Security Act
"Made past or present membership in the Communist party or any other totalitarian political party grounds for inadmissibility and deportation" (7, p.5) During WWII, there were labor shortages, especially on farms
In 1942, the US government "instituted the large-scale importation of temporary agricultural workers from Mexico, which became known as the bracero program" (7, p.5)
However, unauthorized immigration increased during the program
In 1954, the US government "launched 'Operation Wetback,' rounding up and deporting about one million Mexican immigrants, as well as some legal immigrants and U.S. citizens of Mexican descent" (7, p.5)
This was carried out despite the fact that there was no numerical limitation on Mexican immigration The McCarran-Walter Act
Combined all previous immigration laws into "one comprehensive statute" (7, p.5)
"Although the law formally eliminated race as a basis of exclusion from the United States, it retained the racist bias of the national-origins quota system" (7, p.5)
The "annual quota for each country outside the western hemisphere was set at one-sixth of one percent of the number of persons of that ancestry living in the United States as of 1920" (7, p.5)
This obviously favored Western European immigrants The End of National Origins Quotas: 1965-1985 The Immigration Act of 1965:
Eliminated "the discriminatory national-origins quota system by eliminating race, ancestry, or national origin as a basis for denying immigration to the United States" (7, p.5)
Numerical limitations remained:
"170,000 per year for the Eastern Hemisphere—with a 20,000-per-country limit—and, for the first time, 120,000 for the Western Hemisphere—without a per-country limit" (7, p.5) Vietnam War fuels influx of refugees
The Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975:
"Created a domestic resettlement program for Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees" (7, p.6)
The Refugee Act of 1980:
"Created a domestic resettlement program for all refugees"
"Formally defined 'refugee' in accordance with the 1967 United Nations Protocol on Refugees"
"Removed refugees from the immigration preference system" (7, p.6) Thank You! History of Arab Immigration History of Chinese Immigration History of Nigerian Immigration “The number of Rhode Islanders who claim an Arab ancestry more than doubled since the Census first measured ethnic origins in 1980 and is among the fastest growing Arab populations in the country” (22)
Rhode Islanders “who identified as having Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by more than 26% between 2000 and 2010” (22)
Around 26,541
“According to the 2010 Census, roughly 77% of Arab Americans in the state have Lebanese or Syrian roots” (22)
“Since 1990, significant increases appear in the number of Rhode Islanders who are of Egyptian and Syrian descent” (22)
A significant majority of the self-identified Arab population live in Providence
Immigrants by Country of Origin: (22)
Lebanon 530 Egypt 505
Syria 254 Morocco 160
Iraq 152 http://aai.3cdn.net/df50a3e4f94f78c0a1_vwm6iivqh.pdf 1986-2000 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986:
"Allowed most unauthorized immigrants currently living in the U.S. to apply for legal status" (7 p. 6). However...
It also "created sanctions against employers who 'knowingly' hired unauthorized immigrants, and increased funding for border enforcement" (7 p.6)
Immigration Act of 1990
Brought immigration cap to 700,000 per year. However...
Three laws created in 1996 would have "a devastating impact on immigrants in general" (7 p. 6)
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act
"Created new grounds for inadmissibility to, and removal from, the United States" (7 p.6)
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
Made most legal permanent residents "ineligible for means-tested public-benefit programs for five years after receiving their green cards" (7 p.6)
Also, it made LPRs "ineligible for Medicare and Social Security for ten years after getting their green cards" (7 p.6)
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act 2001-Present 9/11 had a profound effect on law enforcement in the US
Acts such as the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, the REAL ID Act of 2005, and the Secure Fence Act of 2006 all attempted to increase security in the United States
Immigration policy in the United States continues to be a difficult issue to tackle As a result of the slave trade, Nigerians first came to America in the eighteenth century
Many Nigerians came to America to study, and "the United States became a center of attraction for Nigerian nationalists who later became the revolutionary leaders" (23)
"In the late 1970s and 1980s Nigeria was among the top six countries in the number of students sent to study in the United States" (23)
The 1990 census showed that there were 91,688 people of Nigerian ancestry living in the US (23) In the nineteenth century, Chinese immigrants were forced to endure harsh treatment, discrimination and exploitation
Anti-Chinese movements emerged throughout the US
Finally in 1882, the Chinese were the first group to be singled out and Chinese immigration was restricted severely by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
"After China became an ally during World War II, the exclusion laws proved to be an embarrassment and were finally repealed by the Magnuson Act in 1943" (24)
This act only allowed for an annual quota of 105 Chinese immigrants, which had a devastating effect on the Chinese community, especially on Chinese families who were often forced to split up (the men would stay and work in the US while the women and children lived in China (24))
This quota was removed by the Immigration Act of 1965
By the end of the twentieth century, there were "an estimated 2.3 million Chinese-Americans" (24) http://rlv.zcache.com/proud_mexican_american_poster-rabb0c50dfb524ae1afed119ecafe8f92_j0e_400.jpg
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