CLAIM: President Joe Biden said in his 2021 speech to Congress, “Immigration has always been essential to America.”
VERDICT: FALSE. The United States won World War II, created a middle-class economy, invented many new technologies, revived racial equality, and landed astronauts on the moon during the long period of low migration between 1925 and 1970.
From the 1840s onward, waves of European immigrants flooded into the emerging industrial economy, helping to fill factories providing a cornucopia of goods, including rivers of cheap autos from Detroit factories in the early 1900s.
But public pressure forced Congress to sharply reduce migration in 1924.
The number of new immigrants was 800,000 in 1921 — but it quickly dropped by more than 90 percent, to just 29,000 in 1934 and 39,000 in 1945.
The resident population of immigrant Americans dropped from 14 million in 1920 to 9.6 million in 1970.