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Professor Elliott Young is doubly awarded for his article “Caging Immigrants at McNeil Island Federal Prison, 1880-1940”

March 02, 2020

It is our pleasure to announce that Professor Elliot Young has been doubly awarded the James Madison Award as well as the Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award for his article entitled “Caging Immigrants at McNeil Island Federal Prison, 1880-1940,” which was published in the Pacific Historical Review.

Caging Immigrants at McNeil Island Federal Prison, 1880–1940
Elliott Young

McNeil Island prison was the first federal penitentiary in the U.S. West from its founding in 1875 through the 1930s. Thousands of immigrants were imprisoned there for violations of immigration laws, and also for drug and alcohol charges. It was at McNeil Island that in the late 1880s scores of Chinese were sentenced to six months hard labor for merely being present in the country without authorization, an offense that was not (and still is not) a criminal offense. This article reveals that the overlap between immigration and criminal law, known as crimmigration, began at the dawn of immigration enforcement.

The full text of his article is available here:


James Madison Award: The award named for President James Madison was established in 1989 and is presented annually on the anniversary of his birth to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level.

Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award: The Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award is given annually for the most deserving contribution to the Pacific Historical Review—a journal of American and Pacific History and the official journal of the Pacific Coast Branch.

The prize, given by the Pacific Historical Review and supported by the University of California Press, honors the journal’s former managing editor, Louis K. Koontz (1890-1951).

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