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Three Worlds of ReliefRace, Immigration, and the American Welfare State from the Progressive Era to the New Deal$
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Cybelle Fox

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152233

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152233.001.0001

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A New Deal for the Alien

A New Deal for the Alien

(p.250) Chapter 10 A New Deal for the Alien
Three Worlds of Relief

Cybelle Fox

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the Social Security Act and the disparate treatment of blacks, Mexicans, and European immigrants in the administration of Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Aid to Dependent Children, and Old Age Assistance. Though framed as legislation that would help the “average citizen,” scholars have shown that the Social Security Act in fact excluded the vast majority of blacks from the most generous social insurance programs, relegating them to meager, decentralized, and demeaning means-tested programs. European immigrants, by contrast, benefited from many of the provisions of the Social Security Act, and in at least some respects, they benefited more than even native-born whites. The net result of these policies was that blacks were disproportionately shunted into categorical assistance programs with low benefit levels, European immigrants were disproportionately covered under social insurance regardless of citizenship, and Mexicans were often shut out altogether.

Keywords:   Social Security Act, black immigrants, Mexican immigrants, European immigrants, Unemployment Insurance, Aid to Dependent Children, Old Age Assistance, social insurance programs, means-tested programs, citizenship

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