The Canadian government’s exclusion of the passengers of MS St. Louis reveals the anti-Semitic public and official climate of Canada in the 1930s, and underscores the harsh restrictions of Canada’s Depression-era immigration policies.

Manager of Research Monica MacDonald suggests that current debates on immigration are best informed by the historical contexts of immigration as well as the contemporary experiences of newcomers.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Canadian immigration officials viewed conservative religious groups, and in particular the Amish, as undesirable immigrants. Historian Steven Schwinghamer examines how these immigrants were singled out for more rigorous screening, and likely refusal, based on religious prejudice.

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