The debate over U. A Great American Immigration Story.
Within a few decades, family unification had become the driving force in U. President Lyndon B.
The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, whose 50th anniversary comes on October 3, officially committed the United States, for the first time, to accepting immigrants of all nationalities on a roughly equal basis. Xenophobia was evident as well during the debate over the 1965 act, but one difference is that the country now has 50 years of experience successfully integrating non-European immigrants.
Such assurances did not sway conservative critics of the reform, but a last-minute change in the legislative language did alleviate their fears of a massive African and Asian influx. The 1965 Immigration Act has never gotten the attention it warrants as the law that finally made America the open nation it had long claimed to be. In the subsequent half century, the pattern of U.
Its 50th anniversary could be an occasion for celebration. Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective. The law eliminated the use of national-origin quotas, under which the overwhelming majority of immigrant visas were set aside for people coming from northern and western Europe. This article is part of our Next America: We want to hear what you think about this article. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift.
Conservatives, led by Representative Michael Feighan, an Ohio Democrat, managed to change those priorities, giving visa preferences instead to foreigners who were seeking to join their families in the United States.
Opponents of the reform proposal had argued that the United States was fundamentally a European country and should stay that way. The share of the U.Whatever Next - Kids Books Read Aloud
The more typical response to the nativist arguments was simply to deny that the proposed immigration reform would bring any significant shift in the pattern of immigration. The naturalization of a single immigrant from an Asian or African or Hispanic background opened the door to his or her brothers and sisters and their spouses, who in turn could sponsor their own brothers and sisters. The heightened emphasis on family unification, rather than replicating the existing ethnic structure of the American population, led to the phenomenon of chain migration.
Feighan and others were wrong. For supporters, the intent of the legislation was to bring immigration policy into line with other anti-discrimination measures, not to fundamentally change the face of the nation. Even legal immigrants face hostility these days, though, as the prospect of a nonwhite U.