Inching Towards Harmonization: Immigration Controls Along the Canada-United States Border, 1882-1910

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Matieyshen, Cory
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Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal
After Congress banned most Chinese immigrants and certain classes of other immigrants in the 1880s and 1890s, immigrants who would have been turned away at American seaports began landing in Canada and crossing the land border. Immigrants proved adept at evading American immigration officials assigned to Canadian seaports and certain points along the border, leading the United States to monitor the entire international border by 1908. Between 1905 and 1910, Canada stationed immigration officers at both American seaports and along the border and passed immigration laws that were essentially identical to those in effect in the United States, making it more difficult to use one country as a "back door" to the other. Using Canadian archival sources, this paper shows that even before Frank Oliver overhauled Canada's immigration law and enforcement regime the Canadian government made several key concessions designed to mollify the Americans and protect Canada's transportation industry.
Canada -- Boundaries -- United States , Immigrants -- Canada -- History