African immigration to the United States refers to immigrants to the United States who are or were nationals of modern African countries. The term African in the scope of this article refers to geographical or national origins rather than racial affiliation. Between the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and 2007, an estimated total of 0.8 to 0.9 million Africans immigrated to the United States, accounting for roughly 3.3% of all total U.S. immigrants during this period.
African immigrants in the United States come from almost all regions in Africa and do not constitute a homogeneous group. They include peoples from different national, linguistic, ethnic, racial, cultural and social backgrounds. As such, African immigrants are distinct from African Americans, many of whose ancestors were involuntarily brought from West Africa to the United States by means of the historic Atlantic slave trade.
In the 1870s, the Naturalization Act was extended to allow aliens, being free white persons and to aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent to acquire citizenship. Immigration from Africa was theoretically permitted, unlike non-white immigration from Asia.
Several laws enforcing national origins quotas on American immigration were enacted between 1921 and 1924 and were in effect until they were repealed in 1965. While the laws were aimed at restricting the immigration of Jews and Catholics from Central and Eastern Europe and immigration from Asia, they also impacted African immigrants. The legislation effectively excluded Africans from entering the country.
The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 restricted immigration from a given country to 3% of the number of people from that country living in the US according to the census of 1910. The Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act, reduced that to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the US in 1890. Under the system, the quota for immigrants from Africa (excluding Egypt) totaled 1,100. (The