The genesis of the Newfoundland Immigration Act of 1926

Goodyear, Darren John (1993) The genesis of the Newfoundland Immigration Act of 1926. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In 1926 Newfoundland enacted legislation to restrict immigration in spite of the fact that the island had received very few immigrants in the previous seventy years. The antecedents of the 1926 Immigration Act can be found in the colony's own immigration experience, the shift in international immigration policies after the First World War, and its relations with Canada and the United States. -- After the First World War, Canada and the United States effectively restricted immigration to Mainland North America. This shift in immigration policy left Newfoundland with the most liberal regulations in North America and caused increasing difficulties for the colony's migrating labour force. Unlike its neighbours, Newfoundland did not experience mass immigration in the early part of the twentieth century. As a result, immigration policy was not a high priority. The colony did not have in place the administrative or legislative framework to respond to the development of international or North American restrictions. -- Canadian and American immigration officials pressured the Newfoundland Government to restrict immigration in the wake of two organized immigrant smuggling schemes in 1925-26. The arrival of two small groups of eastern Europeans in St. John's enroute to the United States, and the subsequent investigations launched by the American consulate and local investigations launched by the American consulate and local officials, warned legislators that the colony could be the recipient of redirected immigrants. With an uncertain economy and a dependence on the goodwill of its neighbours to relieve its excess labour, Newfoundland reacted to concerns over immigrant smuggling by passing a new immigration act in 1926. -- This act emulated Canadian style restrictions and ended a tradition stemming from 1906 of judging prospective immigrants, with the exception of the Chinese, by individual merit. This was significant as individual merit was replaced by blanket restrictions as a way of screening potential immigrants. The 1926 Newfoundland Immigration Act was the last stage in a trend to create uniform immigration standards for North America after the war.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10559
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 113-117.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Emigration and immigration law--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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