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Anthony J. Caminetti

Commissioner General of Immigration, June 1, 1913 - March 13, 1921

Anthony Caminetti was born July 30, 1854 in Jackson, California. He attended public schools in Jackson and San Francisco before studying law at the University of California, Berkeley. Admitted to the California Bar, he set up a law practice in his hometown and soon became District Attorney for Amador County. Caminetti then served as a member of both California’s State Assembly and Senate. Beginning in 1891, he served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, but lost his 1894 re-election bid. Caminetti returned to Jackson where he again served as a State Senator.

In 1913 President Woodrow Wilson appointed Caminetti as Commissioner General of Immigration. In 1920, as Commissioner General, he traveled to Europe to investigate the conditions faced by European emigrants. On his return, Caminetti recommended that the U.S. adopt an inspection-abroad policy which would allow the U.S. to bar inadmissible immigrants before they arrived at American ports of entry. This would save immigrants from the frustration and cost of traveling to the U.S. only to be barred from entry. Congress included inspection abroad in the Immigration Act of 1921 and it has remained a component of U.S. immigration policy since. Caminetti served as Commissioner General until 1921 and died two years later on November 17, 1923.


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