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Immigrant identification card

The Immigrant Identification Card of Adelina Valencia, an immigrant to the United States from Mexico

1929
Photograph

Immigrant identification card, 1929, Shades of L.A. Collection, Los Angeles Public Library https://tessa.lapl.org/cdm/ref/collection/photos/id/82118

This is an Immigrant Identification Card that the US Department of Labor issued to Adelina Valencia in 1929. Read through the information on this card. What sorts of information did the Department of Labor want to collect? How old was Adelina Valencia when she received this card? Why do you think she wanted to have this card, and why do you think the Department of Labor wanted her to have it? American immigration law changed dramatically after 1924 when the government passed a law known as the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act. It put into place quotas that determined how many immigrants could come to the United States each year, and it based that number on how many immigrants had lived in the US in 1890. While individuals from the Western Hemisphere were often exempt from the quota system because of the need for continued laborers, the law also erected an infrastructure of immigration regulations and the modern border system. What other sources in this inquiry set seem most similar to this card, and why? What kind of evidence for the 1920s being a decade filled with “extremes” might this card provide? Be sure to consider both the identity of Adelina Valencia along with the agency that issued the card.

This is an Immigrant Identification Card that the US Department of Labor issued to Adelina Valencia in 1929. Ask your students to closely read the information on this card, noting both the kinds of information that the Department of Labor sought to collect along with the information that Valencia provided. Next, ask your students to make inferences about why Valencia sought this card, what it would be used for, and why the Department of Labor issued it. This card was issued in the late 1920s, in the decade following one of the biggest waves of immigration in American history, and just after Congress passed one of the most sweeping pieces of restrictive immigration legislation. American immigration law changed dramatically after 1924 when the government passed the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act. It put into place quotas that determined how many immigrants could come to the United States each year, and it based that number on how many immigrants had lived in the US in 1890. The law aimed to favor immigrants from northern and western European countries and limit the number of immigrants from southern and eastern European countries. While individuals from the Western Hemisphere were often exempt from  the quota system because of the need for continued laborers, the law also erected an infrastructure of immigration regulations and the modern border system. Ask your students to make connections between this card, the experience of Adelina Valencia (as we can understand it based on this card), and other sources in this set. These questions can help guide their comparison: What other sources in this inquiry set seem most similar to this card, and why? What kind of evidence for the 1920s being a decade filled with “extremes” might this card provide?

United States Department of Labor
The Immigrant Identification Card of Adelina Valencia, an immigrant to the United States from Mexico.
Country of Birth: Mexico Date of Birth: Feb. 10, 1904
Color of Eyes: Drk Brown
Date Admitted: [indecipherable]
Immigrant’s Signature:
Immigrant Inspector: