This article places Black mobility and anti-Black racism at the center of the history of US immigration restriction. Black migration has often been marginalized in immigration historiography, but I argue that anti-Black racism has played a major role in creating what I term the nativist state. From the colonial era through the present, policies and practices to exclude, detain, and repatriate immigrants often first targeted Black people. In addition, constraints on Black mobility have been central to denying African Americans citizenship rights and rendering Black people foreign, even when born in the United States. Looking at moments of intersection between anti-Black racism and the nativist state serves to illuminate both systems, and to expose the ways they emerged together, reinforced each other, and recycled each other's discourses.

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