Maddalena Marinari is assistant professor of history at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. She teaches a broad range of courses on 20th century US history and writes about immigration, immigration restriction and policy history.
The "likely to become a public charge" clause originally targeted southern and eastern European immigrants. It has since become a tool to exclude "undesirable" immigrants du jour.
In the 1920s, the US demanded that Italy help them vet immigrants. They created barriers for immigrants considered to be a threat — physically, culturally or politically.