Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Kenneth Fones-Wolf

Committee Co-Chair

Melissa Bingmann

Committee Member

Mary Durfee

Committee Member

Joseph Hodge

Committee Member

James Siekmeier


This dissertation looks at the immigration of Maltese laborers and their families to North America, chiefly Detroit and Toronto, between 1919 and 1960. While the Maltese migration followed similar patterns to other Southern European Catholic or skilled laborers in general, it is different in both their timing and colonial association. Most migrants came to North America in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the Maltese migration occurs largely after World War I and extends through the 1960s---the exact time frame of immigration restrictions imposed by both the governments of the United States and Canada. How the Maltese immigrants were able to skirt these legal restrictions comes down to their imperial standing as part of the British Empire and the skilled trades that many migrants brought with them. Therefore, this dissertation attempts to be both a comparative study of immigration policy and foreign policy between the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, as well as a transnational study of a migrant group that spans not just the transatlantic world but also the North American border.