By 1921, the US had become alarmed at the number of people from all over Europe that were pouring into the United States. Congress decided to pass the Quota Act, which limited the annual immigration from any European country to 3 percent of that group’s US population in 1910. In 1924 Congress passed its harshest law ever: the National Origins Act, which limited immigration to 2 percent of the American population of a nationality group in 1890.
During World War II, Italians who had not yet completed the naturalization process were named Enemy Aliens. Italians on the west coast were barred from certain restricted areas and even evicted from their homes. About 1, 000 Italians deemed to be the most dangerous were held in a military camp in Montana. At the same time, more than a million Italian Americans served in World War II.
Nicoline Bongiovanni began the naturalization process, and became a US citizen in January 1944. She was 50 years old at that time.
Immigration laws remained strict into the 1950’s, but in most parts of the country Italians were being integrated into mainstream America. Second-generation immigrants like Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra were celebrated as typical examples of American figures; spaghetti and pizza became American staples; and Little Italies began their slow transformation from vital neighborhoods into tourist attractions.