Xenophobia has played a large role in American History from the first English settlers of Pennsylvania to the modern day fears that accompany the arrival of new immigrant groups. People's fears are based on differences in religious, cultural, and social beliefs, as well as economic and national security concerns. The documents within the unit illustrate different xenophobic organizations and laws.
In 1727, the English residents of Pennsylvania wrote a Memorial against Non-English Immigrants to Parliament in an attempt to limit or ban newly arriving German immigrants. The list of concerns and worries are similar to the ideas expressed in the Certificate announcing the results of California's vote on Chinese Immigration Act in 1879. Both documents address the concerns of the "native" population that the increasing number of immigrants will change the racial or ethnic balance of the population, create unique foreign communities, and overall disrupt the status quo.
The last document is a series of letters between members of the Iwata family who were placed in an Internment Camp during World War II, out of fear of a vast internal Japanese uprising. The letters illustrate the Iwata family’s belief that the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Americans will ease or eliminate their pain and separation during the war. These different perspectives provide an insight to America's immigration debate.