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Immigration Research Project

Research Project

Conduct research on an immigration topic of your choice.


For your final project, conduct research and write a report on an immigration- or integration-related topic of your choice. Your instructor will specify the report’s required length.

Select one of the options below.

Some possible topics for Option B are listed below.

  • 1790 Naturalization Act (allowed naturalization for “free white persons”)

  • 1864 Immigration Act (encouraged immigration during Civil War)

  • 1870 Naturalization Act (extended naturalization to those of African nativity or descent)

  • 1875 Page Law (also known as the Asian Exclusion Act)

  • 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act (barred Chinese immigration)

  • Jim Crow laws (enforced racial segregation)

  • Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907–08 (slowed Japanese immigration)

  • Alien Land Laws (barred Asians from owning land and property in several states)

  • 1917 Immigration Act (also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act)

  • 1921 Emergency Quota Act (specified immigration quotas based on nationality)

  • 1924 Immigration Act (tightened 1921 restrictions)

  • 1942 Bracero Agreement (encouraged Mexican agricultural labor)

  • 1943 Magnuson Act (repealed Chinese Exclusion Act)

  • 1952 McCarran-Walter Act (removed race as a factor for naturalization and immigration)

  • 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (removed quota system based on national origin)

  • Refugee Act of 1980 (created a general policy for accepting refugees)

  • Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (offered unauthorized immigrants a pathway to permanent residency)

  • 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (offered temporary deportation relief to those brought to U.S. illegally as children)

Next Up:




Investigate an immigration-related issue in the news for a better understanding of modern immigration.




Watch “A Family Immigration Story: The Minetas,” a short video vignette illustrating one Japanese family’s immigration experience.




Read the poem “The New Colossus” and discuss its relevance to U.S. society.


Option A: Research an immigrant group of your choosing. Your report should contain answers to the following questions.

  1. Describe this immigrant group. Where do they come from? When did they immigrate? What lines of work did they take up, and why?

  2. Why did this group immigrate? Was their immigration forced or voluntary? What were some important push and pull factors that drove this immigration?

  3. What major challenges/hardships and opportunities/successes did they encounter in the United States?

  4. What major factors affected their ability to immigrate and/or integrate? Specifically, how did immigration/integration laws and policies affect this immigrant group?

Immigrants and luggage on the SS Imperator, from the Hamburg America Line, NY, June 19, 1913.

Identifier: LC-DIG-ggbain-13361, Bain News Service photograph collection. Source: Library of Congress


Option B: Research a historical immigration- or integration-related policy. Your report should contain answers to the following questions.

  1. Describe the policy. What was it called, and what did it do? When and where was it in effect?

  2. Describe the context around the policy. Why was this policy adopted? What factors drove its adoption? Who was involved in creating this policy, and what were their motivations and aims?

  3. How did this policy affect subsequent immigration/integration in the United States?

  4. What might this policy illustrate about the beliefs, concerns, logic, and/or mindset of policymakers at the time?

Pledge of Allegiance at Raphael Weill Public School, San Francisco, CA, 1942.

Identifier: 210-G-A78. Source: National Archives and Records Administration

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