Skip to main content

Proclamation on Immigration Quotas (28 April 1938)


The rapid proliferation of agricultural and industrial capitalism in the United States attracted huge numbers of European immigrants. Overcrowding on the continent and the ready availability of jobs in America intensified the immigration explosion. In the 1890s, only a few hundred thousand southern and eastern Europeans arrived each year. In less than two decades, however, that number had increased dramatically, with more than a million immigrants pouring into the United States between 1906 and 1914. By 1920 America was the destination of nearly 60 percent of the world's immigrants, a number that would hold until 1930. Those opposed to the country's open-door policy for European immigrants included some in organized labor, who believed that cheap (usually exploited) foreign workers weakened the bargaining power of unions, as well as Nativists, white Protestants who feared that the unchecked influx of Jews and Catholics would pollute the American bloodline and steal political and civil authority from old-stock Americans. Finally, with the country suffering the aftershocks of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt signed legislation restricting the number of Europeans allowed into the United States (somewhat stricter limitations had already been placed on Asians). The decision was a sweeping reversal of traditional U. S. policy. Although future legislation, for example the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 (the so-called Immigration and Nationality Act), would alter and eventually outlaw quotas based on race or place of origin, the United States still maintains immigration limits. The Immigration and Naturalization Service, which pursues and deports illegal aliens, is the country's largest law enforcement agency.

Laura M.Miller,
Vanderbilt University

See also Immigration ; Immigration and Naturalization Service ; Immigration Restriction ; McCarran-Walter Act ; Nativists .

Immigration Quotas

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

WHEREAS the Acting Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Labor have reported to the President that pursuant to the duty imposed and the authority conferred upon them in and by sections 11 and 12 of the Immigration Act approved May 26, 1924 (43 Stat. 161), they jointly have made the revision provided for in section 12 of the said act and have fixed the quota of each respective nationality in accordance therewith to be as hereinafter set forth:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, President of the United States of America, acting under and by virtue of the power in me vested by the aforesaid act of Congress, do hereby proclaim and make known that the annual quota of each nationality effective for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1938, and for each fiscal year thereafter, has been determined in accordance with the law to be, and shall be, as follows:

National Origin Immigration Quotas
Afghanistan (100)
Albania (1000)
Andorra (100)
Arabian peninsula (except Muscat, Aden Settlement and Protectorate, and Saudi Arabia; 100)
Australia (including Tasmania, Papua, and all islands appertaining to Australia; 100)
Belgium (1,304)
Bhutan (100)
Bulgaria (100)
Cameroons (British mandate; 100)
Cameroun (French mandate; 100)
China (100)
Czechoslovakia (2,874)
Danzig, Free City of (100)
Denmark (1,181)
Egypt (100)
Estonia (116)
Ethiopia (Abyssinia; 100)
Finland (569)
France (3,086)
Germany (27,370)
Great Britain and Northern Ireland (65,721)
Greece (307)
Hungary (869)
Iceland (100)
India (100)
Iran (100)
Iraq (100)
Ireland (Eire; 17,853)
Italy (5,802)
Japan (100)
Latvia (236)
Liberia (100)
Liechtenstein (100)
Lithuania (386)
Luxemburg (100)
Monaco (100)
Morocco (French and Spanish zones and Tangier; 100)
Muscat (Oman; 100)
Nauru (British mandate; 100)
Nepal (100)
Netherlands (3,153)
New Guinea, Territory of (including appertaining islands; Australian mandate; 100)
New Zealand (100)
Norway (2,377)
Palestine (with Trans-Jordan; British mandate; 100)
Poland (6,524)
Portugal (440)
Ruanda and Urundi (Belgian mandate; 100)
Rumania (377)
Samoa, Western (mandate of New Zealand; 100)
San Marino (100)
Saudi Arabia (100)
Siam (100)
South Africa, Union of (100)
South-West Africa (mandate of the Union of South Africa; 100)
Spain (252)
Sweden (3,314)
Switzerland (1,707)
Syria and the Lebanon (French mandate; 123)
Tanganyika Territory (British mandate; 100)
Togoland (British mandate; 100)
Togoland (French mandate; 100)
Turkey (226)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (2,712)
Yap and other Pacific islands under Japanese mandate (100)
Yugoslavia (845)

The immigration quotas assigned to the various countries and quote areas are designed solely for purposes of compliance with the pertinent provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924 and are not to be regarded as having any significance extraneous to this object.

This proclamation shall take effect immediately, and shall supersede Proclamation No. 2048 of June 16, 1933.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this 28th day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-eight and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-second.


Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Proclamation on Immigration Quotas (28 April 1938)." Dictionary of American History. . 22 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Proclamation on Immigration Quotas (28 April 1938)." Dictionary of American History. . (January 22, 2019).

"Proclamation on Immigration Quotas (28 April 1938)." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved January 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.