Bureau of Immigration
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National Catholic Welfare Council
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The influx of European immigrants from the United States since the mid-19th century gave a boost to the Catholic population in the United States. Between 1900 and 1920, an estimated 3.5 million Catholics immigrated to America. However, these immigrants faced many social and economic problems when they arrived. Few spoke English and many were poor working-class laborers. Moreover, many Americans feared foreigners were bringing dangerous communist ideology to the United States after Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

In order to “Americanize” these foreign immigrants, the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC) established the Social Action Department in 1919 to educate new immigrant arrivals about American culture and government. In 1920, the NCWC established the Bureau of Immigration to further the assistance of immigrants, giving them guidance through the immigration process and providing financial loans. The bureau represented a calculated effort to protect and aid the growing immigrant population of American Catholics.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
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Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links


Immigrants at Ellis Island- National Archives and Records Administration

Sunday mass at Ellis Island- Hathi Trust- from National Catholic Welfare Council Bulletin, vol. 4

Immigrant aid workers- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-55809

Ellis Island- Library of Congress, HABS NY-6086
Web Source(s)
American Catholic History Research Center
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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