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Brokering ServitudeMigration and the Politics of Domestic Labor during the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Urban

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780814785843

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814785843.001.0001

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Controlling and Protecting White Women

Controlling and Protecting White Women

The State and Sentimental Forms of Coercion, 1850–1917

Chapter:
(p.138) 4 Controlling and Protecting White Women
Source:
Brokering Servitude
Author(s):

Andrew Urban

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814785843.003.0005

By 1882, federal immigration officials had assumed sole responsibility for determining who qualified as eligible to enter the United States. By the 1890s, they also wielded the power to deport immigrants—what legal historian Daniel Kanstroom has called “post-entry social control”—who violated the terms of their admission. Building on Kanstroom’s framework, chapter 4 grapples with the ways that government-appointed immigration officers and employment agents, first at Castle Garden and then at Ellis Island and the immigration station in Philadelphia, used the threat of barred entry and informal prohibitions on the release of unaccompanied female immigrants to compel these white women into taking jobs in domestic labor. Committed to the idea that young, white European women, when subjected to the right type of controls, remained a vital and privileged source of immigrants, officials devised and implemented practices and regulations that allowed for their foreign contract and for them to circumvent restrictions that would have otherwise prohibited their entry on the grounds that they were likely to become public charges.

Keywords:   Castle Garden, Ellis Island, Philadelphia Immigration Station, William Williams, immigration officers, employment agents, Contract Labor Law (Foran Act)

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