Hidetaka Hirota, Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Lecturer in History and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, has been awarded the Carlton C. Qualey Memorial Article Award from the the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. The award recognizes the best article published between 2013 and 2014 in the Journal of American Ethnic History (JAEH). The article, titled “‘The Great Entrepot for Mendicants’: Foreign Poverty and Immigration Control in New York State to 1882,” published in JAEH 33, no. 2 (Winter 2014).
Drawn from Hidetaka's current book project that examines the state-level origins of American immigration restriction, the article explores the significance of economic concerns in the evolution of immigration policy in New York State. In New York, legislators saw the practical and humanitarian necessity of accommodating poor immigrants who came to New York on their own. Policymakers, however, were much less sympathetic to those who had already been paupers in their homelands and emigrated with assistance from the local authorities in Europe, because of their seemingly low likelihood of becoming productive American citizens. This hostility to imported pauperism guided New York’s immigration control from the 1840s onward, leading to the passage in 1880 of a state deportation law. Challenging the conventional understanding that immigration to the United States was free from regulation prior to the introduction of federal immigration policies in the late nineteenth century, the article demonstrates that long before the enactment of federal policies, America’s biggest immigrant-receiving state was firmly committed to regulating the quality of newcomers who would join American society.