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Political Studies Program, Human Rights Project, Historical Studies Program, Global and International Studies Program, Asian Studies Program, American Studies Program, and Japanese Studies Program Present

Monday, April 22, 2019
From 1924 to Trump: The Roots of America’s Immigration Debate
Olin, Room 102
4:45 pm – 6:30 pm
Jia Lynn Yang, Deputy National Editor, The New York Times
This talk will trace the current immigration debate back to the Supreme Court fight in 1922 over whether a Japanese-born man could naturalize, and the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, which established ethnic quotas favoring “Anglo-Saxons.” Because immigration debates have long been predicated on who counts as sufficiently “white,” the current system—in which there are far more Asian and Hispanic immigrants than European—challenges traditional notions of who counts as American. Yang will discuss how the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act set us on this current course, but left much unfinished work around race and national identity that we confront today during the Trump administration. The talk will also address media coverage of Trump’s immigration policies as well as how to infuse journalistic work with a sense of history.

Jia Lynn Yang is a deputy national editor at the New York Times, where she helps oversee coverage of the country. Previously, she was deputy national security editor at the Washington Post, where she was an editor on the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2018 for its coverage of Trump and Russia. She is writing a book on the history of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, Un-American Elements, forthcoming from W. W. Norton in 2020.

For more information, call 845-758-6822, or e-mail

Time: 4:45 pm – 6:30 pm

Location: Olin, Room 102