Partners in Gatekeeping: How Italy Shaped U.S. Immigration Policy over Ten Pivotal Years, 1891–1901

Lauren Braun-Strumfels, Cedar Crest College

Partners in Gatekeeping (University of Georgia Press, 2023) illuminates a complex transnational story of US immigration policies and institutions. Lauren Braun-Strumfels challenges existing ideas about the origins of remote control—requirements for entry performed in sending countries—by examining two programs supported by the Italian government in the 1890s: a government outpost on Ellis Island called the Office of Labor Information and Protection for Italians; and rural immigrant colonization in the American South—specifically a plantation in Arkansas called Sunnyside. In detailing the asymmetric partnership between the United States and Italy in managing Italian migration, the author argues that its experience with Italy is essential to the history of the US becoming a gatekeeping nation. By showing the roles of Italian programs in this migration system, Braun-Strumfels establishes antecedents for remote control beyond the well-studied Chinese and Mexican cases.